Lewis Hamilton could put his Arsenal allegiances to one side amid growing talk of his involvement in a Chelsea takeover bid, but ex-Blues winger Paul Canoville would prefer he keep his distance.
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton and 23-time Grand Slam-winner Serena Williams are both part of a consortium fronted by Sir Martin Broughton. However, many have pointed out the former has long professed himself to be a fan of London rivals Arsenal.
Canoville—who made more than 100 appearances for Chelsea and was the first black player to represent their first team—lauded both athletes for their feats both in sport and beyond. However, the 60-year-old published a lengthy post detailing why he felt Hamilton and Williams were unnecessary sponsors for the Premier League club.
"Serena is on record saying she supports Real Madrid, and while I know Lewis has now suggested he was bullied into supporting Arsenal by his sister, he is an Arsenal fan and that's a fact," he wrote on Twitter. Hamilton recently explained one of his sisters (he has two) 'basically beat him' to support Arsenal, though his uncle Terry would also bring him to games at Stamford Bridge.
"I will always support Lewis in everything he does in F1," Canoville continued. "He is the greatest driver ever in my opinion and, as with Serena, he is a phenomenal icon for black achievement and civil rights. With football though, I think he should stay loyal to his own team."
The Chelsea fan favourite—who was forced to retire at 24—has either met or spoken with representatives of the three remaining takeover bids. Canoville gave his backing to the party led by Todd Boehly, who also part-owns both the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Dodgers.
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While admiring the work of Hamilton and Williams in civil rights matters, Canoville added he felt there was an element of 'disrespect' in the Broughton bid. This was in regards to figures like the aforementioned duo playing roles in "developing anti-racism, diversity and inclusion programmes" despite not supporting the club.
F1 rival Max Verstappen recently waded into the debate and described it as "quite interesting" that an Arsenal fan would take an interest in running Chelsea. "I am a PSV fan and I would never buy Ajax," said the Red Bull star. "And if I was going to buy a football club I would want to be the full owner and to take the decisions myself, not own just a tiny percentage."
Roman Abramovich was forced to sell the west London outfit following sanctions imposed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Hamilton may yet become the latest in a growing list of high-earning athletes to become involved in ownership, though his efforts continue to be met with scrutiny.
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