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Bob Ratcliffe: “We never gave up on buying OGC Nice.”

Speaking at today’s unveiling press conference, the owner of INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, had his brother Robert Ratcliffe present to speak on the record €100m to €120m acquisition of the Ligue 1 side from a Chinese-American consortium.

Bob Ratcliffe heads up INEOS’ football activities, serving as President of Swiss 2nd division side Lausanne, which the chemicals conglomerate also owns. He will sit as president of the board of OGC Nice, but not president of the club – that responsibility has been re-betrothed to Jean-Pierre Rivère, although it has yet to be announced, who stepped down in January of this year after falling out with the previous ownership.

Catch-up on the highlights from Bob Ratcliffe’s press conference today below courtesy of Nice-Matin:

On negotiations:

We never abandoned the idea of buying OGC Nice. We were truly invested. We were determined. Very determined from the off. We looked at a lot of other clubs but this was one is unique.

On the transfer window:

There will not be any transfer announcements today. We hope to announce some in the coming days. The transfer window was difficult. But we hope to use these final days.

On the project:

I do not think that we will be a club that buys 27 or 28-year-old players. We will focus in particular on young players with talent. But we are aware that a team needs experience to progress and succeed. If we want this project to be successful, it is important to invest in young players.

On his ambitions:

Our aim is to be in the Champions’ League in 3 to 5 years. We want to challenge PSG, Lyon and the other big teams in France. Our aim is to fight for the top 4 places in Ligue 1. We want to compete with the best youth academies in the world like Ajax for example. We want to work on our facilities and on the training pitches.

On links with Lausanne Sport:

We thought about it but we wanted to first think deeply on it. Some things like the youth academies are very good in Switzerland. We want to improve on that in France and so we could base that around our experience that we acquired in Switzerland with Lausanne Sports.

On ownership structure:

We can confirm that INEOS are 100% the owners of the club. We do not intend to divulge the purchase price.

On Dante:

I had lunch with Dante. He is a role model for the young players at the club. He is exemplary in the dressing room and on the pitch. We want to have such characters with us.

On Patrick Vieira:

I spoke a lot with Patrick Vieira. He will be essential for our project. The way that he works with young players is very exciting.

On the incomings:

We have met with certain people at the club. We are going to take time to meet with all of the club staff. We are looking for excellence and we think that we have excellent profiles.

On Ligue 1:

We want to contribute to the improvement of the image of French football and the league. The French league is under-rated in comparison with the English league for example. There are some great clubs in France. It is a difficult challenge. The more that Ligue 1 has big clubs, the better it will be. We must have 4 French clubs in the Champions’ League.

 

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