The 69-year-old billionaire, and founder of INEOS, had his offer “rejected out of hand” but maintains hopes of securing a Chelsea takeover if Todd Boehly’s talks break down
Image: TOLGA AKMEN / AFP via Getty Images)
Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe retains hope of buying Chelsea Football Club despite being informed by the bank in charge of the sale that he is not being considered.
The founder of petrochemicals giant INEOS confirmed an offer on Friday afternoon, two hours before it emerged that the consortium led by US businessman Todd Boehly was entering exclusive talks to take over from sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Ratcliffe has since been told by Raine Group that his offer was “rejected out of hand,” according to INEOS director Tom Crotty, but he is pushing on with his plans and believes he can be in place to step in should there be a hitch to the Boehly bid, which has been given until Friday to strike a deal.
The 69-year-old could deal directly with the club’s hierarchy but that would cause problems elsewhere – not least with Raine, who has been running the auction since Abramovich put the club up for sale in early March.
Ratcliffe, a Manchester United fan who has previously balked at the evaluations of Premier League clubs, met with the club’s chairman Bruce Buck last week and has also opened dialogue with supporters’ groups in recent days. “We can confirm we have held talks with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team but no further meeting is scheduled,” a Chelsea Supporters’ Trust spokesman told Mirror Football.
INEOS already possesses an impressive sports portfolio, including a successful cycling team and a close partnership with the Mercedes Formula 1 team. In the summer of 2019 the company bought Ligue 1 club Nice for about € 100m.
“This is a British bid for a British club,” INEOS said on Friday. “We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first class suad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s game. We believe that London should have a lub that reflects the stature of the city. . “
The bid led by former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton are also monitoring the situation in case Boehly fails to close. Broughton’s group, largely funded by Crystal Palace minority owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, were told late last week that they would not be moving forward to the next stage of talks.
Meanwhile, concerns remain in Westminster around fears that Abramovich is rowing back on his promise to write off the club’s £ 1.6bn debt. The government’s priority is to ensure the 55-year-old does not make any money from a sale that could be worth £ 4bn and should he demand to reclaim his investment the entire sale may be placed in jeopardy.