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Chelsea: Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘not giving up’ on buying Premier League club

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Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe says he is “not giving up” on taking over Chelsea despite “disappointing communication” over his £4.25bn offer.

Ratcliffe, the majority shareholder of chemical group Ineos, made the late bid for the Premier League club on Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ineos director Tom Crotty said the offer had been rejected by the firm handling the sale.

But, speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan, Ratcliffe said: “Consideration should be given to a British bid.”

A consortium led by LA Dodgers owner Todd Boehly is understood to be the preferred bidder for Chelsea.

American investment firm Raine has been tasked with selling Chelsea and the UK government is expected to issue a new licence, allowing the club to be sold, once a preferred buyer has been highlighted.

Ratcliffe said his group had held “positive talks” with the UK government, but has not spoken to current Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

“We had a communication with Raine and met with them at the end of last week. We presented a bid but have heard very little back from them,” Ratcliffe told the BBC, in his first interview since making the last gasp bid.

“My message to Raine is don’t discount our offer. We are British and have great intentions for Chelsea. If I was Raine I wouldn’t close any door.”

In a wide-ranging interview in Madrid, Ratcliffe also said:

  • He is originally a Manchester United fan and would have “split loyalties” when the teams played
  • He wants to turn Chelsea into a club of “the same stature as the city of London”
  • The bid is not about making profit from Chelsea as Ineos makes “lots of money from chemicals”
  • Stamford Bridge needs a “world-class capacity as well as a world-class stadium” and will not be renamed
  • Significant investment would go into Chelsea’s women’s and academy teams
  • His group “couldn’t get comfortable” with Chelsea’s valuation when they first expressed interest in buying the club in 2018

Abramovich announced on 2 March he was planning to sell the club, shortly before he was sanctioned by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian billionaire is understood to have strong ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin and his assets, including Chelsea, were frozen.

Ratcliffe, whose company bought the Team Sky cycling franchise in 2019 and runs French football team Nice, has pledged to invest £1.75bn into the club over 10 years.

But the offer arrived on Friday morning, weeks beyond the initial deadline for bids of 18 March.

Asked why his group’s bid was submitted late, Ratcliffe said: “I think that is quite simple – it is a big decision to buy a national asset and it’s a big commitment in terms of time and money.

“We’re there for the long term that’s a lot of responsibility to take on and it takes time to reach a decision to be fully committed.

“We got there at the end of the day and we are committed. We’re not giving up.”

Credit: bbc.com

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