Sir Jim Ratcliffe has all but ruled out the possibility of purchasing Chelsea Football Club from Roman Abramovich.
Abramovich is currently looking for a buyer of the west London outfit, with the Russian announcing on Wednesday that he thinks the decision is in the “best interest” of the club.
“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.”
Ratcliffe has been touted as one of possible contenders to become Abramovich’s successor as Chelsea owner, but the British billionaire has now dismissed the speculation.
Speaking to Reuters, a spokesperson of Ratcliffe said: “There is no substance to the stories. Right now his focus is on OGC Nice which made it to the final of the French Cup to be played in Paris at the beginning of May.”
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, when asked about the statement from Abramovich after the Blues’ 3-2 win over Luton Town in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening, said he can only imagine life with the Russian as owner of the club.
He said: “It’s a bit too early to speak because I can only think about Chelsea with Roman Abramovich, so it’s very hard for me. It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is going to stop. It’s a massive change, of course.
“I don’t think I need to talk about it. I’m very sure the club will speak to us and the players. I’m not so much worried because I still feel privileged and in a good place and I still hope and trust for the best. I’m not so much the person who worries about things I cannot influence.
“It is big news, it will be a big change, but I’m also never afraid of change and will focus on what I can influence – this staff and the team at Cobham.”