There is “no substance” to the reports claiming Jim Ratcliffe is interested in buying Chelsea, according to a spokesperson for the British billionaire.
Roman Abramovich announced that he has put the club up for sale on Wednesday, with the Russian oligarch said to have set a £3billion asking price while also writing off the £1.5billion debt the club owe him.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss claimed earlier this week that he has been approached to buy the club as part of a consortium which includes LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, who has previously shown interest in buying the west London club.
And The Sun claimed on Thursday that Ratcliffe was considering putting in an offer viea his INEOS empire.
The UK’s wealthiest man, with a net worth of £6billion, is reportedly a season ticket holder at Chelsea and already owns two overseas clubs – Swiss side Lausanne-Sport and French side Nice.
The report claimed Ratcliffe would ‘face competition from at least two other groups should he make a bid’ but now a spokesperson for his company told Reuters (via Sky Sports) “there is no substance to the stories” linking Ratcliffe to a purchase of the Premier League side.
Abramovich has told American ban the Raine Group to handle the sale of Chelsea and there are ‘strong indications that he will receive at least two firm offers by the end of the week’.
In his statement via Chelsea’s website, Abramovich said: ‘I would like to address the speculation in media over the past few days in relation to my ownership of Chelsea FC. As I have stated before, I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart.
‘In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.
‘The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid.
‘This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated.
‘The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.
‘Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.
‘I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart. Thank you, Roman.’