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Team Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe completes £88m purchase of French football team OGC Nice

Joe Robinson
27 Aug 2019

French football team becomes latest part of Ineos sporting empire alongside British WorldTour cycling team

Billionaire owner of Team Ineos, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has secured the purchase of Ligue 1 football team OGC Nice. Britain's third richest man completed the buy-out for a reported fee of €100 million (£88.77m) earlier this year to bring the southern French footballing team into Ratcliffe's wider sporting empire.

OGC Nice now join Team Ineos, second-division Swiss football team Lausanne and Britain's America's Cup sailing team as the latest part of the Mancunian's growing sporting portfolio.

In a statement to announce the purchase, Ratcliffe claimed OGC Nice ticked the boxes of a solid business acquisition. 

'It has been quite a long journey getting here. We have looked at a lot of clubs in the manner we look at businesses in Ineos - for value and potential - and Nice fulfils that criteria,' said Ratcliffe.

'We made some mistakes at Lausanne, but we are fast learners, these have been rectified and we are already seeing the benefits. Clubs need to be successful off the pitch, as well as on it, and Nice will be no different.'

This comes after Ratcliffe took over from broadcasting company Sky as the owner of British WorldTour team Team Sky in May rebranding to Team Ineos.

It was an acquisition that is set to cost Ratcliffe around £40 million per year, although rumours have circulated that the budget may increase from 2020.

It was immediately met with criticism from environmental groups who claimed Ratcliffe was attempting to 'sportwash' by becoming involved in cycling.

His petrochemical company Ineos is one of the world's largest produces of single-use plastics and also holds the right to frack land for shell gas across large parts of the UK.

This also saw the team's first race, the Tour de Yorkshire, marked by extensive roadside protests from anti-fracking groups against Ineos's introduction into professional cycling.

Another criticism that may begin to arise is Ratcliffe's decision to invest £88 million into a middling football team on the French Riviera rather than invest in the establishment of a Team Ineos women's cycling team, something the team has never done in its 10-year history.