Qatari investors are reportedly trying to see if they exploit a UEFA rule loophole to complete their takeover of Manchester United. The group of investors is one of many groups interested in buying the club.
One of the biggest and oldest clubs in England, Manchester United was listed for sale by longtime owners the Glazer family. A race for buying the clubs is now on.
The Glazers have owned the club for almost 18 years and were widely unpopular during their reign of the club. The club is currently valued at £4 billion, but the Glazers will demand £6-8bn from potential buyers. The Raine Bank, which is based in America, is said to be handling the takeover talks on behalf of the Glazers. They have also set a deadline of 17 February for takeover bids.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, and CEO of Ineos was the first person to put himself in the running in January. The group of Qatari investors is also preparing a bid already having opened official talks with the club. A Saudi consortium and even Elon Musk are said to be in the running. Many of the interested parties have already signed confidentiality agreements with the club to access sensitive information about the club.
Qatar already has one club in Europe which is Paris Saint Germain, owned by Qatar Sports Investment(QSI). UEFA rules dictate that owners cannot have more than one club in the same European competitions. So there was concern that the takeover bid for Manchester United may not be approved. Also, another concern was that funds from Paris could be diverted to the takeover bid.
Le Parisien has reported that the Qatari group of investors has now found a loophole. Instead of a direct takeover, they will buy United through an independent investment fund. So QSI would not be the one to bid directly. Qatar Investments Authority, a subdivision of QSI would also not bid directly. So the Qatari investors can buy the club without a hitch.
🚨UFEA will not block Qatari investors from buying Manchester United.— Football Talk (@FootballTalkHQ) February 15, 2023
Qatar Sports Investments already own PSG but the United bid will come from a separate entity. UEFA sources have disclosed that there is not going to be any problem with the Qatari bid. #MUFC [@MikeKeegan_DM] pic.twitter.com/IfgZ5yeD3v
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of QSI and the president of PSG is said to be definitely involved in the takeover bid though it won’t be direct involvement. He has recently shown a clear appetite to invest in another Premier League club.
Apparently, he has already met and held talks with both Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham, and Andrea Radrizzani owner of Leeds United.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s Emir is said to be a big Manchester United fan which increases the possibility of them buying the club. It is also said the buyers must have reserve funds of up to £2bn to develop the club, including redeveloping Old Trafford. The Qatari group can easily match this and even provide manager Erik Ten Haag with a huge transfer fund to improve the squad.
Till now, no official bids were submitted with Friday being the deadline. The future of Manchester United will be decided when the bids are revealed on Friday.