Jim Ratcliffe

Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe has not ruled out buying Chelsea Football Club after admitting he did have a tour of their training ground last year.

Jim Ratcliffe was in the Yorkshire Dales on Wednesday to launch Team INEOS after taking over the professional cycling team from Sky.

And while it is understood he has not so far been prepared to meet Roman Abramovich’s valuation for the club, believed to be in the region of £4bn despite Chelsea insisting the Russian billionaire has no intention of selling, Ratcliffe hinted he is still interested

He initially dismissed a report in Sportsmail last year that he had been given a tour of Chelsea’s Cobham training base, only to then rather mischievously admit the story was true.

And when pressed on Chelsea specifically, he told the BBC: ‘I’d never say no, but I don’t know where those conversations will finish up.’

There is understood to be interest in Chelsea from different parts of the world, with a bid from Saudi Arabia thought to be serious.

Ratcliffe, however, appears interested in exploring football.

‘I am a big Manchester United fan,’ he said. ‘In fact, I am a tortured Manchester United fan at the moment to be honest.

‘We have dipped our toe in the water with football, it’s a very different sport, quite a complicated sport, a complicated world.

‘We are in the process of learning about it. We bought this club in Switzerland and it has been really educational.

‘We have got to where we are in the chemicals and business world by being impetuous, rash and stupid.

‘We recognised it is a very complex world, we are going through the process of learning and we are not in a desperate hurry to get to the end game.’

Last year’s Sunday Times rich list valued Ratcliffe at £21.05bn, compared to Abramovich’s £9.3bn valuation.

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