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1 May, 2019 17:02

‘You’d never say no’: UK's richest man not ruling out bid to buy Chelsea from Abramovich

‘You’d never say no’: UK's richest man not ruling out bid to buy Chelsea from Abramovich

Petrochemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe – the UK’s richest man – has signaled he is still open to launching a bid to buy Premier League football club Chelsea from Russian businessman Roman Abramovich.

Rumors have been circulating for several months that Ratcliffe, who founded chemicals giant INEOS and whose wealth is valued at in excess of $25 billion by some estimates, was interested in taking over the London club.

Chelsea have consistently denied that Abramovich wants to sell the club he has owned since 2003, although there are reports he would be willing to listen to offers in excess of around $3 billion.

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When asked whether he would still be keen on acquiring the club, Ratcliffe, 66, indicated to BBC Sport editor Dan Roan that he would not rule it out – despite supporting Premier League rivals Manchester United.

“I’m a big Manchester United fan, a tortured Manchester United fan at the moment to be honest," he said. 

“We've dipped our toe in the water with football, it's a very different sport, quite a complicated sport, a complicated world.

“We are in the process of learning about it. We bought this club in Switzerland [Lausanne-Sport in 2017] and that's really been educational.

"We haven’t got to where we are in the chemicals and business world by being impetuous, rash and stupid.

“We recognized it is a very complex world, we're going through the process of learning and we're not in a desperate hurry to get to the end game."

When pressed again on Chelsea, he added: "You never say no, but I don’t know where those conversations will finish.” 

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck recently said that Abramovich was “committed” to the club, despite the Russian reportedly not having attended a Blues game this season.

Also on rt.com Abramovich 'committed' to Chelsea despite sale speculation – chairman

Abramovich, 52, faced issues in receiving a UK visa last year amid the fallout between the UK and Russia over the Skripal spy poisoning saga.

He has since gained Israeli citizenship, meaning he could enter the UK, but has apparently declined to do so.

Amid the scandal, Chelsea also put their plans for a new $1 billion stadium development on hold.

Recent reports claimed that Chelsea had held “exploratory talks” with US and Asian-based groups over a potential sale, although the club has offered no comment on this.      

Also on rt.com Chelsea ‘hold exploratory talks with 3 groups over potential $3.2bn sale’