A Qatari investor has made a historic bid to acquire Manchester United, owned by the American Glazer family.
After 17 years of ownership, the Glazer family wants to sell the Red Devils club, hoping the deal will break records for the largest ever sale of a sports club for around $6.4 billion.
Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has entered the race to buy Manchester United with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who in turn announced in an official statement that he has submitted an offer to acquire the team’s shares.
Who is Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad?
Jassim was born in 1982. He is a Qatari banker and Manchester United fan. His father, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, served as Prime Minister of Qatar from 2007 to 2013.
Jasim was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, UK and graduated as a cadet.
However, he is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), ranked third in the Forbes Middle East list of the top 30 companies in Qatar.
Qatar Islamic Bank is one of the leading banks in Qatar, and its largest shareholder is sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, the owner of Qatar Sports Investments Company, which has acquired the French club Paris Saint-Germain since 2011.
Jassim previously served on the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Bank. Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.3 billion, making him one of the richest in the Gulf emirate.
And since the Red Devils have not won a local league championship for ten years, Jassim promised in a Friday night statement to “restore the club to its former glory” and pay off its €580 million debt, in addition to huge investments in football teams and the centre. Training, stadium and wider infrastructure.
Although only offers from Jassim and Ratcliffe were officially announced, there were parties interested in acquiring the club, also from the United States of America and Saudi Arabia.
And Jassem is no stranger to managing clubs in the world of the round witch, as he is also involved in the management of Paris Saint-Germain, which could create a conflict of interest between the English and French giants.
While any acquisition of Manchester United will not take place directly through the Qatari company itself under European Football Association (UEFA) law, the actual funding source is likely to remain the same.
The French media have expressed fears that the Qataris will focus on Manchester United in the event of a successful acquisition, which could negatively affect Paris Saint-Germain and its domestic and European ambitions.
There appears to be competition between the Gulf states to acquire English clubs, with the Saudi State Investment Fund owning 80% of the Newcastle club since 2021 and the Abu Dhabi Development and Investment Group having acquired Manchester City since 2008.