By Nick Purewal, PA
Todd Boehly met Paul Canoville on Friday as the US magnate’s bid to buy Chelsea was boosted by his LA Dodgers partner Mark Walter, the PA news agency understands.
Baseball franchise part-owner Boehly sat down with Canoville, Chelsea’s first black player, and Blues supporters and bid representatives Barbara Charone and Daniel Finkelstein.
LA Dodgers principal owner Walter is understood to have joined forces with Boehly and British businessman Jonathan Goldstein’s bid to buy Chelsea, with four consortiums still in the race for the Stamford Bridge club.
The Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family, Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca are all also battling to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.
Leaders of the four consortiums have been meeting with Chelsea executives and prominent figures around the European champions this week.
Boehly was at Stamford Bridge for Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid, and followed that up by meeting Canoville on Friday.
Martin Broughton sat down with Canoville early on Friday, after the former Chelsea winger had previously met with Tom Ricketts.
Tom and Laura Ricketts then also held further meetings with representatives of the Paul Canoville Foundation, to lay out the Cubs owners’ vision for diversity and inclusion should they buy the Blues.
Canoville has wanted to meet all the prospective Chelsea owners, to challenge them on their plans to tackle racism and discrimination should their candidacy to buy the club prove successful.
The 60-year-old was racially abused by his own fans on his Chelsea debut in April 1982, but now has a suite named in his honour at Stamford Bridge and is a high-profile anti-racism campaigner and youth worker.
Both the Ricketts and Boehly consortiums are understood to be confident in their candidacy to take the Stamford Bridge helm.
Final bids were initially expected by April 11th, but New York merchant bank the Raine Group has put that deadline back to April 14th.
Raine still hopes to propose a preferred bidder for UK government approval in time for Chelsea’s new owners to take control in May.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2nd, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin.
Chelsea have been granted a special government licence to continue operating, though under strict terms.
Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale, but had already vowed to write off the club’s £1.5 billion (€1.7 billion) debt.
Chelsea’s sale could reach a sports franchise record £3 billion, with proceeds either frozen or diverted into charitable foundations to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine.