Qatari investors are planning to place a humongous bid for the Premier League Club Manchester United. A report from the Daily Mail has described the investors as a group of private, high-net-worth individuals based in the oil-producing nation of Qatar. The latest event held in Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2023, has been a success for Qataris in drawing the world’s attention toward them.
The World Cup was hosted by this same group of investors, who now have set their eyes on the club. They intend to provide financial assistance to Eric ten Hag, the manager, in taking the club to the pinnacle.
The Glazer family, the owner of United, has set a deadline of mid-February for bids. They are expecting that the bid from Qatari investors will wipe out the competition completely. Glazers have opened the price at £6 billion for the club. They are highly concerned with the super expensive redevelopment project of Old Trafford; an alternative would be to raze down the venue and build a new generation stadium of international standards from absolute scratch, with estimations predicting a cost of around £2 billion. But such expensive infrastructure projects are no big deal for Qatar.
Qatar’s monarch Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is known to be a big fan of Manchester United. Glazers are said to take into account the supporter’s point of view regarding the bid. After all, what is a club without fan engagement?
According to reports, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) fully owns the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), a Paris-based professional football club. Abiding by the rules of the FA Premier League and of the European football governing body, UEFA, a single entity cannot hold power to influence two clubs simultaneously. This rule is a foreseeable roadblock for the bid. Here, there is a separate group of Qatari investors in the line to bid for the club.
Since November last year, the Glazer family, owner of the club, had begun searching for new prospects of either an investment or sale of the club in partial or full.
The Qataris are planning to buy a 100 per cent stake in the club. Some insider information has been making rounds that the group of investors want to use their knowledge base accumulated from successfully hosting the World Cup and are looking for new opportunities.
Competitor of Qatar
Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS and the richest man in Britain, set foot in the bidding process of United last month. He was the first bidder to publicly admit his willingness to buy the club of which he has been a lifelong supporter. He is considered to be the only bidder against the Qataris.
As per reports, interested bidders have already been shared the financial data by the sale process handler, Raine, a US-based merchant banker, who had overseen the sale of Chelsea.
Qatar and Saudi rivalry in Football
Qatar owning Manchester United, will heat the soccer fields in the middle eastern region. Its neighbourhood, Saudi Arabia, is home to Newcastle United, United’s competitor in the Premier League.
Manchester’s complete purchase would require the approval of the Premier League and UEFA, but there are concerns over Qatar’s human rights violations.
Al-Thani, a committed soccer fan
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, has been the club’s supporter for years. Back in 2011, a £1 billion offer was made to the Glazers by the Al Thani family for Manchester United but was declined back then. This fueled Al Thani, and the same year, he purchased 70 per cent of PSG. This investment in the club made it one of the biggest clubs not only in the European region but on a global level also.
The stock of Manchester United (MANU) soared higher in the pre-open market after news of probable Qatari’s bidding for the club. This news report helped United to rise by 18 per cent in the first half of trading. The market capitalisation of the club is $3.5 billion, whereas Glazer’s demand is $7.3 billion.