Abramovich rejects offer to buy Chelsea

Chelsea Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Roman Abramovich has reportedly rejected an approach from Britain's richest man to buy Chelsea.

Ratcliffe, who owns petrochemicals giant Ineos, put forward his offer to buy the club when he heard that the Russian oligarch could be prepared to sell up due to ongoing visa issues with the Home Office.

It is understood that the 51-year-old is not interested in selling the club.

He also knows all about running football clubs after purchasing FC Lausanne-Sport in November - who were relegated from the Swiss Premier League last season.

A close ally of President Putin, Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 in a deal worth £140million.

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He was reportedly furious at not being allowed into the country to watch his side's FA Cup final victory over Manchester United last month, and has now applied to be an Israeli citizen in order to be able to visit the UK for up six months at a time. The 51-year-old was also granted Israeli citizenship which meant that he could visit Britain up to six months in a year but will have to apply for a work permit if he wants to keep doing business in the United Kingdom.

In 2010, when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, he moved his operations to Switzerland following a row over his wish to postpone Value-Added Tax payments for six months. It returned to Britain two years ago, where it is based near Harrods in London's Knightsbridge.

Ratcliffe's plans to buy Chelsea might not see the light of the day as his offer was quickly discarded, with the Chelsea owner stating he had no intention to sell the club.

A spokesman for Ineos said in response: "We can't comment on market rumour or speculation".