Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe insists he is ‘not giving up’ on buying Chelsea and has explained why he only lodged a bid for the west London club after the deadline had already passed.
Two months ago, Roman Abramovich instructed US merchant bank Raine Group to oversee the sale of Chelsea with an extensive bidding process seeing a consortium led by Todd Boehly chosen as the preferred bidder at the end of last week.
But just hours before Boehly was selected as the preferred buyer, Ineos founder and majority shareholder Ratcliffe made a late offer worth £4.25billion.
That was rejected by Raine out of hand, who have granted exclusivity to LA Dodgers co-owner Boehly’s consortium to complete a deal.
But Ratcliffe believes a British football club should be British owned and has urged Raine to reconsider, while he has already held ‘positive talks’ with the UK government about taking ownership of Chelsea.
‘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.’
Raine initially received over a dozen viable offers for Chelsea which was whittled down to a shortlist of four: A consortium led by Sir Martin Broughton, a controversial bid from the Ricketts family, an unexpected bid from Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca and, of course, Boehly’s consortium.
Ratcliffe and Ineos appeared to distance themselves from any offer despite previous interest in buying Chelsea and did not submit a bid before the initial March 18 deadline.
In fact, it took another six weeks after that for Ratcliffe to make his bid and he has now explained the delay, saying: ‘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.’
Ratcliffe, whose company also own the Ligue 1 side Nice, also revealed that he is a Manchester United fan and admitted he would have ‘split loyalties’ whenever the Red Devils took on Chelsea.
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