Petrochemical industry mogul Jim Ratcliffe is looking to have some fun, rich-man style. With a net worth of around £20b, his options are surely plentiful. And so he’s expanded into luxury clothing (Belstaff), luxury hotels, and is funding a venture to build the spiritual successor to the Land Rover Defender (Projekt Grenadier). Recently, he’s gotten involved in sports as well, acquiring a team in the America’s Cup, in pro cycling (taking over sponsorship of Team Sky, now Team Ineos), and in pro football with Lausanne FC in Switzerland.
Why would he get involved? Well, why not?
“It’s something of an indulgence, but we make five-to-six billion dollars a year and have allocated £100million-ish a year to sporting endeavours. We enjoy it, there are good challenges and why shouldn’t we?”
Must be nice.
Despite rumors however, he’s not looking to expand his portfolio too much or too quickly. A Premier League acquisition, Chelsea or otherwise, is not close.
“There’s plenty to read in the press, but the reality is probably quite different. There’s no point in me talking about Chelsea as we finish up with more stuff that isn’t accurate. I don’t want to go there with Chelsea.”
“Whether [buying a Premier League club] happens one day, I wouldn’t say no, but I wouldn’t say that’s firmly in our sights.”
If that ever changes, Ratcliffe, who’s now only Britain’s third richest man at last count, dropping out of the top spot, does at least seem to have to the right attitude for the business of sports.
“We’ve made a number of silly errors [at Lausanne FC], but it’s a learning process and it’s a small club so it won’t cost a fortune. We’re cognisant of the errors we’ve made and one thing here is that it doesn’t matter if people make mistakes, just don’t make them twice.”
“You don’t achieve greatness in sport by accident. Even if you’ve been given great DNA you have to be absolutely driven [...] The more difficult the challenge, the better the feeling when you achieve it.”
“Just because [Real Madrid] have won the European Cup so many times, they don’t lose interest. There’s no harm in success.”
-Jim Ratcliffe; source: Evening Standard
Not that there is anything wrong with Abramovich’s winning mentality and desire. He just never talks about it in public! (Just like all the other things he doesn’t talk about in public, which is pretty much everything, other than Chelsea’s fight against anti-Semitism.)