Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nice-Matin, Robert Ratcliffe, the brother of Jim Ratcliffe who is the CEO of INEOS and owner of Team Sky, discussed the pair’s ongoing attempts to purchase Ligue 1 side OGC Nice.
On rumours suggesting that the Ratcliffes will purchase Chelsea:
We looked at a fair amount of clubs… It was a rumour that made a lot of noise. In the Premier League, there are 6 top clubs that are worth billions of pounds. That is massively inflated vis-à-vis commercial value. There are sellers, but far less buyers in England. We are not interested in buying an English club.
Why OGC Nice?
We looked at a lot of clubs, in several leagues… First of all, we want to be involved in football at the highest level and enjoy special, unique moments. All businesses are not interested in football. Us, yes, we want to invest in this sector. Ligue 1 has great players like Mbappé and Neymar, some of the best in the world.
There are some great opponents, it is very interesting. There is a spectacle. Next, it is important for us to position ourselves in a club that has a long history, lots of fans. The atmosphere of the club is capital. We do not want something that fades. I’ve even learnt that the trams in Nice are painted red and black because of the club. That says a lot about the enthusiasm around the club. We really like that. I made the mistake of saying that the colours of the shirt resemble those of AC Milan, it is the other way round. The history of a club is very important.
On their strategy:
We want to buy a club, develop it and make it go to the next level. That is the mentality of INEOS, our values. Nice is a mid-table team but I know that it often finishes higher than that because of the good team it has and the good management. We do not want to buy a club where we have to rebuild everything. There is a magnificent stadium, a training centre which is basically completely new. From the outside looking in, the work that has been done in this club in recent years is impressive. At INEOS, we have always invested into sport in a coherent way.
Nice corresponds with our philosophy, and on top of that my brother and his associates are very attached to the Côte D’Azur. In the last 20 years, it is here that we spend the majority of our time aside from London. So if we can align all that with our passion for football and go and see our team at the stadium, that would be perfect.
On his ambitions:
Considerable investments, a clear and ambitious development plan in the long term. The Champions’ League is an objective of course… If today I said that we could rival PSG, people would not take me seriously. I would lose all my credibility. Paris are in another galaxy, but I think that there is room just behind that.