Reports in the British media indicate that Jim Ratcliffe, acclaimed to be the country’s richest man, has offered Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich two billion pounds for his stake in the English Premier League club following the Russian’s inability to renew his visa which cast a shadow on his future in Britain.
Ratcliffe, 65 and with an estimated fortune of about £21billion, who is also a fan of Manchester United reportedly made the offer as the diplomatic row between Britain and Russia raged in the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Abramovic was incensed at not being allowed to watch his club play in this year’s FA Cup Final on May 19 and within days he applied for and was granted Israeli citizenship, fuelling speculations that he might be considering dumping his investments in England including the club he bought in 2003 for about £140million.
The British government has made it clear that he cannot work in Britain on his Israeli passport, although he can visit for up to six months at a time.
However it is understood that Abramovich has rejected the offer with the club saying that its owner – worth around £1.3billion – remains committed to the club.
Mr Ratcliffe is a Chelsea season ticket holder and already owns a football club in Switzerland.