Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe makes last-minute bid for Chelsea Football Club

Ineos chief and Britain's richest man, Monaco-based Jim Ratcliffe

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has tabled a last-minute bid to buy Chelsea Football Club, a spokesperson for the petrochemicals magnate has confirmed.

Ratcliffe, 69, is understood to have held talks with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck on Thursday and submitted £4.25 billion for the Stamford Bridge club on Friday.

Oldham-born, Monaco-based Ratcliffe is the chief executive of Ineos, the biggest chemicals company in the world and Britain's richest man, with an estimated wealth of around £10.9 billion.

An Ineos statement read: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos, has made a formal bid for Chelsea FC, for £4.25bn; £2.5bn is committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, with £1.75bn committed to investment directly into the club over the next 10 years.

“This is a British bid, for a British club. We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community.

“That is why we are committing to spending £1.75bn over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club.

“We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC. This will be organic and ongoing so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.

“We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first-class squad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s games.

“And we hope to continue to invest in the academy to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first class players.

“We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club.

“We are making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit. We do that with our core businesses.

“The club is rooted in its community and its fans. And it is our intention to invest in Chelsea FC for that reason.”

Ratcliffe, who is a Manchester United fan, explored a possible bid to buy the Blues from Roman Abramovich in 2019, only to buy French club Nice instead. He reportedly thought Abramovich's £2.5 billion estimate for the price of Chelsea was too high.

His previous due diligence on Chelsea will expedite the process of his bid, minimising any delays in the sale process headed up by New York merchant bank the Raine Group.

Chelsea will still hope to have a new owner in place by the end of May, despite any delays that come from Ratcliffe’s late entry into the race for the Stamford Bridge club.

Boston Celtics co-owner Pagliuca was told on Friday afternoon that his bid to buy the Blues had been unsuccessful.

Todd Boehly and Sir Martin Broughton now remain as bidders with consortium offers to buy the Blues, along with Ratcliffe’s late heavyweight bid for Chelsea.

Once the Raine Group selects a preferred bidder, the government must then grant a new licence to allow the sale to be completed.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the British government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven links between the Russian-Israeli billionaire and Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich has owned Chelsea for 19 years, leading the club to 21 trophies in a glittering tenure.