Manchester United officially remain up for sale, but reports from Qatar on Monday claimed that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani had indeed beaten Sir Jim Ratcliffe and got the go-ahead from the Glazers
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has been congratulated on his alleged takeover of Manchester United – despite no offical announcement being made.
The Premier League giants are yet to confirm who their new principal owner will be, with current chiefs the Glazer family set to decide on a preferred bidder this week. Sheikh Jassim, an uber-wealthy Qatari banker, has been competing with INEOS chief executive Sir Jim Ratcliffe for the best part of eight months in the battle to buy United.
A total of five bids have been lodged by Sheikh Jassim and reports from Qatar on Monday suggested that his final offer was enough to convince the Glazers, who’ve been holding out for £6billion ever since putting the club on the market in November. Despite there being no confirmation, some fans are already bubbling with excitement.
They’ve now been buoyed by a Qatari businessman, Zaidm Al-Hamdan. Chairman of the Armasite Group, he wrote on Twitter : “Congratulations to Shaikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim on his acquisition of @manutd.” The tweet garnered 25,000 likes within 12 hours of posting.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has allegedly won the race for Manchester United
Al-Hamdan’s message comes after Qatari outlet Al-Watan, a news organisation which is 50 per cent owned by Sheikh Jassim’s father, claimed that the bid had been successful, all while United’s share price spiked. Conflicting reports emerged on Tuesday morning, though, with the Press Association explaining that Sheikh Jassim’s camp view the claim of him being successful as ‘pure speculation’ and that – alongside Ratcliffe’s INEOS – they remain remain in a ‘holding pattern’.
The chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank becoming United’s new owner would not only end the Glazers’ deeply unpopular 18-year stay at Old Trafford but also throw the club into the swirling debate around sportswashing. There are fears among Premier League sides that Sheikh Jassim would act as a front for Qatar’s agenda to be pushed through their ruling of United.
Relatively little is known about Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani
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Although Ratcliffe’s camp have remained fairly tight-lipped, Sheikh Jassim’s bid has been shrouded in even more mystery. With little information about him being made available, the only concrete evidence United fans have to go off is his initial statement declaring his intention to buy the club.
“Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani today confirmed his submission of a bid for 100 per cent of Manchester United Football Club,” a spokesperson for the Nine Two Foundation, his vessel for buying the club, said in February.
“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 communities the club supports.
“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club 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.”