The drama around the sale of Manchester United continue but who’s actually in the running to snap up the iconic club?
BestofBets.com looks at one of the main contestants, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, in this race, a deal which could be worth unto £7bn.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, a Qatari banker and son of Qatar’s prime minister between 2007 and 2013, is now the most likely candidate to become Manchester United’s new owner in a deal that’s worth an eyewatering about of money.
That being said, Manchester based local billionaire and owner of the fourth largest chemical company in the world, INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is hot on his heels.
Sheikh Jassim gained his education from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, UK. There, he graduated as an officer cadet before taking up the role as chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB).
The former board member of Credit Suisse has promised United fans to return their beloved club to former glories, while wiping out all debt that has been accrued by the Glazers.
The statement, released on Friday the 17th February, read: “Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani today confirmed his submission of a bid for 100 per cent of Manchester United Football Club.
“The bid plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and – above all – will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more.“The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training centre, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United to be renowned for footballing excellence and regarded as the greatest football club in the world. More details of the bid will be released, when appropriate, if and when the bid process develops.”
It is believed that Sheikh Jassim has been a lifelong Manchester United fan and while his actual net worth is unclear. It is worth mentioning that being QIB’s chairman and his family background, he is a billionaire with his family’s worth being around £275bn. Forbes estimates his net worth to just over £1bn.
That being said, there’s been an increasing controversy surrounding Al Thani’s bid for Manchester United due to his close bond with the Qatari royal family. With many “experts” pointing out their record on human rights, migrant workers and LGBTQ.
It is also important to point out that the bid for United isn’t coming from the state-owned Qatar Sports Investment, who also own PSG, as UEFA laws do not allow full ownership of multiple football clubs by any group or individual due to conflict of interest.
However, regardless of the various opinions about who may be the ‘better’ owner. It should be said that all of these billionaire candidates, may it be Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Al Thani or anyone else none of them are squeaky clean and they all have a history that won’t sit well on grounds of morality. What’s different, is that the British media have been quick with listing the reasons why the Qataris shouldn’t get this but little has been said about the other bids.
Yet, at this moment in time, the huge Manchester United fanbase remain divided as the list of pros and cons for each candidate continue to grow.