Qatari investors set sights on Man United


Qatari investors to bid on ManUnited Image: Coliseum GSVA

Qatari investors are planning to make a huge bid to buy the Premier League club Manchester United F.C. (UK).

‘Reuters’ stated that a report citing unnamed sources described the investors as “a group of private, high-wealth individuals” from Qatar, the country which hosted the 2022 World Cup.

The top-flight club declined to comment.

The Manchester United Football Club, commonly referred to as Man United, or simply United, is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK). The club competes in the Premier League, the top division of the English football league system.

The Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK), and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,310, it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom and the 11th largest in Europe.

Manchester United’s New York-listed shares jumped nearly 16.5 percent in premarket trading.

Last month it was reported that the Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which owns the Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (France), was considering either a total takeover or a stake in Manchester United or their rivals the Premier League club Liverpool F.C.

The Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) is a State-backed body founded by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, but the European soccer governing body – the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) – has strict integrity rules regarding multiclub ownership.

The Qatar Sports Investments is a closed shareholding organization founded in 2005 and based in Doha, Qatar. Revenues generated from ventures of QSi are reinvested into Qatar’s sport, leisure and entertainment sectors.

‘Reuters’ further stated that no club participating in its competitions is allowed to “directly or indirectly hold or deal in the securities or shares of any other club”.

In 2017, the Bundesliga side RB Leipzig (Germany) and the Austrian side FC Red Bull Salzburg were both cleared to play in the Champions League after the UEFA said it was satisfied that energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull did not have a controlling influence on both clubs.

Interested investors are separate from QSI and that the money will come from an “individual fund” rather than a sovereign wealth fund.

Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS (chemicals group) formally entered the bidding process to buy United last month after the club’s US owners, the Glazer family, said in November last year that they had begun looking at options including new investment or a potential sale.

United fans have been clamoring for a change of ownership and the Glazers have been the target of intense criticism as the team last won silverware back in 2017, lifting the Europa League and League Cup trophies.

In April last year, thousands protested outside the Old Trafford, lighting flares and singing songs demanding the Glazers “get out of the club”.

United’s net debt, another bone of contention among fans, had grown to 515 million pounds ($620.42 million) by September.

The team, managed by Erik ten Hag (Dutch professional football coach), are third in the league on 42 points after 21 games, three points behind Manchester City F.C. but eight adrift of leaders Arsenal F.C., who have played a game less.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, as well as Asian countries such as Israel, Cyprus and Armenia. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

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