Multinational chemicals company INEOS has joined the race to buy Chelsea Football Club after it was announced that Sir Lewis Hamilton had joined a consortium of investors along with Serena Williams.
Chelsea has been put up for sale by Roman Abramovich who, after taking over the London club in 2003, had his assets frozen due to his links with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The seven-time world champion and the 23-time grand slam Tennis champion are reportedly prepared to put about $13 million of their own money into the bid led by former Liverpool and British Airways chairman Martin Broughton, who now serves as vice chairman at International Airlines Group.
Hamilton is notoriously a fan of Arsenal after his sister “punched” him the arm telling him “you have to support Arsenal” when he was young, but he divulged that he has a family connection to Chelsea, and he sees having part ownership of the European champions as a distinguished opportunity.
“My Uncle Terry is a big blues fan, so I’ve been to so many games with him to watch Arsenal and Chelsea play,” he said, as quoted by RacingNews365.com.
“And ultimately, I’m a sporting fan. It is the biggest sport in the world, and Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world and most successful.
“When I heard about this opportunity, I was like, ‘Wow, this is one of the greatest opportunities to be a part of something so great’.”
Chelsea are well established in English football as having a promising academy full of prodigious talent, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, whose INEOS company own a third of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, is making the bid “to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first-class players.”
The statement from the company affirms that their attempt to buy the club 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,” they added.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was surprised at Hamilton’s interest in a rival club, insisting that he would never invest money in PSV Eindhoven’s rivals Ajax.
“I am a PSV fan and I would never buy Ajax and if I was to buy a football club I would want to be the full owner and to make the decisions myself, not own just a tiny percentage,” he said.
“I thought he was an Arsenal fan? And if you are an Arsenal fan going for Chelsea, that is quite interesting. But everyone does what they want with their money so let’s see what comes out of it.”
INEOS are said to have offered £4.25 billion for Chelsea, with £2.5 billion of that going to the victims of the war in Ukraine, while the other £1.75 billion would go “directly” to the club.