Behind all the glamorous goals, high-life players and nail-biting matches, the world of football happens to be home to some of the biggest businessmen in the world. With club owners shelling out billions into the game, there’s more than what catches the eye.
Stamford Bridge’s ownership future looks a little cloudy after Russian tycoon and club owner Roman Abramovich failed to renew his UK visa last year. Following an alternative track, Roman managed to obtain an Israeli passport to make sure he can still legally visit England.
Questions have been raised on Abramovich’s commitment to the club after he put the Stamford Bridge redevelopment project on hold last summer.
So who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe? Here’s what we know of the petrochemical tycoon.
The 66-year-old was born in Lancashire, a commuter town in Manchester. The man has been a Manchester United fan ever since he was a kid, even though holding a Chelsea season ticket for many years, Ratcliffe admitted last year.
He told The Sun: “I am a season ticket holder at Chelsea, have been for years, although I’m a Manchester United fan really.
Starting his career at the oil firm Esso, Ratcliffe only became an entrepreneur at the age of 40, when he was co-founder of INSPEC and then in 1998 forming Ineos, buying out his partners.
Ineos moved out of UK in 2010, shifting head office to Rolle, Switzerland. This move is reported to save Ratcliffe around £100 million annually because of lesser tax.
He moved back to the UK in 2015 before again moving out to tax heaven Monaco.
In 2018, the English tabloid Sunday Times named him as Britain’s richest man with personal worth of £21.05 billion.
Sir Jim has always showed keen interest in the world of sports and physical activity.
Apart from being a Manchester United fan, the tycoon was part of expeditions to the North and South poles.
Before his interest in Chelsea, Ratcliffe and his company Ineos already owned a football team: Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport. He bought the team back in 2017. The club is currently second in the league behind leaders Servette.
He also has his hands in the Cycling space where he has completed a move for Team Sky – which will turn into Team Ineos soon. It is still unknown though, how much Ratcliffe will be paying to buy the team.
Sir Jim is also a keen sailor, which explains him teaming up with Olympic sailor hero, Sir Ben Ainslie to form Team UK spending around £110 million already on the project.
Abramovich has set the price for the English club at £2.5 billion, yet Ratcliffe remains the top potential buyer. Showing immense interest in buying the club, Ratcliffe is most likely to take over as Chelsea chief.
Are we looking at a major takeout in the football world? We can only wait and watch.