Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and tennis superstar Serena Williams are helping to bankroll the Sir Martin Broughton-led bid for Chelsea.
Hamilton, who has previously said he supported the club’s London rivals Arsenal, and 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams are among the backers of the only British-led consortium in the running, Mark Kleinman first reported for Sky News.
But the consortium faces a potential hurdle after it emerged its main backers are Josh Harris and David Blitzer, US multi-sport investors who already hold a significant stake in Crystal Palace.
Harris and Blitzer would be required to sell their shareholding in Palace before being permitted to buy a controlling stake in another Premier League club.
Seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton is one of the world’s highest paid sportsmen, banking more than $80m (£61m) in salary and sponsorship earnings last year, according to Forbes.
Williams, 39, is estimated to be worth more than $200m (£153m) and has earned more than twice as much prize money as any other female athlete in history.
Both Hamilton and Williams have invested some of their wealth in businesses, with the Briton backing grocery delivery app Zapp and Williams establishing her own venture capital fund.
US merchant bank the Raine Group is handing the sale of Chelsea on behalf of owner Roman Abramovich, who was sanctioned by the UK government last month for his links to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Raine has whittled down interest to a shortlist of three bids. In addition to former British Airways chairman Broughton’s, there are bids led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca.
It asked for final bids to be submitted last week and is expected to nominate a preferred bidder to the Premier League and government, who must both sign off the deal, later this month.
Sources close to the Broughton bid say it has access to more capital than any of its rivals to buy Chelsea.