Emir of Qatar interested in purchasing Manchester United

Gulf state’s ruler already owns PSG which could present an issue in potential future Champions League clashes

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is interested in buying Manchester United. He values the club below the Glazer family’s £6bn price and there is recognition Uefa may have to agree to a regulation change as the country’s ruler already owns Paris Saint-Germain.

The emir purchased PSG in 2011 through Qatar Sports Investment. Current Uefa rules do not allow clubs with the same owners to face each other in one of its competitions, so a Qatar-owned United and Qatar-owned PSG would not be allowed to compete in a Champions League tie should such a fixture arise.

While the purchase of United is being explored, it is understood those driving the Qatar interest are conscious of the Uefa rules and a solution is being sought. This could include trying to persuade Uefa to consider the possibility of adjusting or changing its regulations.

The Glazer family put United up for sale in November, announcing it is “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives”, potentially bringing an end to its 17-year ownership of the club. The Raine Group, which oversaw the sale of Chelsea, has been appointed as the exclusive financial adviser, and it believed £6bn is wanted for the 20-times champions of England. However, the emir believes £4.5bn is a more realistic price.


The billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest people, confirmed his company, Ineos, was in the running to buy United last month. Radcliffe, 70, was born in Failsworth, which is now part of Greater Manchester, and is a lifelong United supporter.

Amnesty International has described Qatari interest in United as “another wake-up call” to the Premier League in regards to strengthening its ownership rules.

“Coming in the wake of the World Cup and strenuous efforts from the Qatari government to fashion a glitzy new image for the country, it seems highly likely that any Qatari bid for Manchester United would be a continuation of this state-backed sportswashing project,” said Peter Frankental, Amnesty UK’s economic affairs director. “We saw only limited reforms on migrant workers’ rights in Qatar in the lead-up to the World Cup, and there’s been no movement whatsoever in ending the disgraceful criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people or institutional discrimination against women.

“It’s been nearly 18 months since the hugely controversial Saudi takeover of Newcastle United and a Qatari bid for Manchester United would be yet another wake-up call to the Premier League over the need to reform its ownership rules. We’re not necessarily opposed to the involvement of state-linked overseas financial consortia in English football, but the Premier League must urgently strengthen ownership rules to ensure they’re human rights-compliant and not an opportunity for more sportswashing.”

- Guardian