INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe buys Ligue 1 club Nice

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AFP
The owners of UCI World Tour cycling outfit, formerly known as Team Sky, have taken over the Allianz Riviera side

Ligue 1 side Nice has been purchased by INEOS, a petrochemicals company owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe in 1998.

INEOS already owns Swiss Challenge League side Lausanne Sport, which it acquired in November 2017, while in March it bought the UCI World Tour cycling outfit formerly known as Team Sky.

The company was named as Nice's main sponsor for the 2019-20 season and has now bought the club, with Ratcliffe pledging to make "measured investment".

In a statement on Nice's official website, INEOS president Ratcliffe said: "With some sensible, measured investment, we want to establish Nice as a team that competes in European club competition on a regular basis. And importantly, sustain it.

"Nice has a great history and tradition, with a passionate fanbase whom will play an important role in our journey.

"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, as we look to take the club from strength to strength in all aspects over the coming years."

Nice, coached by former Arsenal midfield icon Patrick Vieira, have started the season in fine form, winning their first two Ligue 1 games.

An opening day win saw the Allianz Riviera side host Amiens, with Christophe Herelle's opening goal cancelled out by Chadrac Akolo before fellow centre-back Dante found a winner deep in added time to seal a 2-1 victory.

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A trip to Nimes the following week could have seen the visitors cost dearly after Racine Coly was shown a red card early in the second half, but early goals from Wylan Cyprien and Ignatius Ganago meant Vieira's side could dig in for the duration.

A Renaud Ripart penalty had halved the deficit just before the stroke of half-time, but the home side were left frustrated as the game entered its final stages, with centre-back duo Pablo Martinez and Tony Briancon seeing red in another 2-1 result for Nice.

The Eaglets' next clash should prove another step up, with Marseille making the journey to the east coast on August 28.

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