Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, who is part of a consortium to buy Chelsea, says he was forced to support Arsenal as a child, although he now describes himself as a “sports fan “.
Hamilton and tennis star Serena Williams have joined a consortium led by Sir Martin Broughton to buy Chelsea. Representatives of the seven-time F1 champion have said he plans to invest more than £10m ($13m).
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“When I was young, around the corner from my house, I played football with all the kids and a few close friends at the time. I really wanted to fit in. I was the only colored kid there,” said Hamilton.
“I knew all the kids were supporting someone different, one was Tottenham Hotspur, the other was Manchester United. I remember changing teams when I was younger and coming home and my sister Sam punched me in the arm several times, basically beat me, saying ‘You have to support Arsenal!’
“I remember when I was 5, 6, I became an Arsenal fan. But my uncle Terry is a big Blues fan, so I went to so many games with him to see Arsenal and Chelsea play. Ultimately, I’m a sports fan – it’s the biggest sport in the world and Chelsea are one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the world.
“When I heard about this opportunity, I was like, ‘Wow, this is one of the best opportunities to be a part of something so awesome.'”
Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own multiple teams including the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, also support Broughton’s candidacy.
Hamilton said he joined the bid with 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams to better engage with the community.
“We talked about it. We talked about it many times. Serena and I are very close, so we are in constant contact. She is a phenomenal athlete and woman. We talked about it, she asked me what I thought about it, and I told her I was going to be a part of it and she was excited to join,” Hamilton said.
“First of all, we try to acquire a team and take it forward. It’s a team, it’s about community. That’s what really makes a football team, it’s the people at inside and around it. They’ve been pretty leading in their work in D&I and becoming more diverse and progressive. So it’s not that we’re associating with the previous owners, our goals are to pursue a part of the work they’ve already done and to have even more impact and engage more with the community.”
“educate the fans.”
“Well, at the moment my main focus remains Formula 1, and it’s not my first business or my first investment. But yeah, it’s something I’m passionate about. I won’t be able to be as active as some of the other people who are part of it,” he added.
“We haven’t won it yet, but if we do, there’s a lot of opportunity to get more and more involved over time, which is super exciting and especially beyond racing, to want to help with the success that they have already had and to help it will be even more successful. The part that we are very aligned in and what they have already done there is D&I. You see in this sport , there’s a lot more work that needs to be done to be diverse and more inclusive. It’s an incredible platform to attract and educate a lot of the incredible fans that are out there.”
There are two other offers for Chelsea – LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca – being considered by US bank Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale.
Chelsea have been put up for sale by Russian owner Roman Abramovich amid sanctions against him by the British government following the invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was asked about Hamilton and Williams’ involvement at a press conference on Friday and said he was excited.
“I had a briefing and heard they were part of it. I can’t tell you much more than that. I’m a big fan of both of them. They are fantastic sports personalities on the field, on the circuit and off. .
“They take responsibility as people and are exceptional sports personalities in what they do, for which they have our utmost and greatest respect. I have absolutely no idea of the procedure and the role that they’re playing. I wouldn’t like to comment.”