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Could Qatar be preparing to buy Manchester United or Liverpool?

by Kuda Jinya

Argentina is now a three-time World Cup winner. The world will turn its attention to English football’s two most decorated clubs – Manchester United and Liverpool. The two teams have the richest histories in the English Premier League, and both are up for sale.

The Qatari Investment Authority could purchase either club, even if it blurs the lines of their ownership of Paris Saint Germain (via The Telegraph).

The historic news of the two giants of English football being put up for sale came at a time when Qatar was preoccupied with its ambition to host an unforgettable World Cup. Suffice to say, the latest edition of the tournament was a success, with dramatic climaxes across each stage of the competition and the award of the most coveted trophy to arguably the greatest modern player of all time.

United and Liverpool fans alike will be watching news headlines about the Qatari Investment Authority’s (QIA) potential interest in the clubs.

After all, not many organisations can boast a budget that can realistically accommodate a price tag as hefty as £6 billion for a football club.

The QIA is the nation’s pension fund, an astounding $450 billion (£370bn) pot, the birthright of all 300,000 Qatari nationals.

However, there is a multitude of considerations that cannot be overlooked in this potential purchase. Three such considerations will be the issue of multi-club ownership and the sheer size of the clubs (in terms of brand, heritage, and financial value), and the preferences of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Multi-club ownership

First and foremost, the QIA already owns the Champions League club PSG.

UEFA, the European governing body, has made its stance on multi-club ownership crystal clear, stating that no individual or entity may have control or influence over more than one club competing in the same UEFA competition.

A testament to this position is the case of Red Bull.

The multinational scaled back its association with its Austrian club, Red Bull Salzburg, to ensure that its German club RB Leipzig could also participate in the Champions League. Both teams have competed in the tournament in the last four years.

Liverpool and Manchester United are too big for the US

While PSG is a formidable team on the pitch and within the confines of Ligue 1, Liverpool and United exist on a completely different plane.

The two giants of English (and European) football harbour incredible cultural significance that extends beyond British borders and generational chasms.

In short, the two clubs possess colossal intangible value and brand power across the globe.

Endless wealth aside, the QIA is still a shrewd investor. Some of its notable acquisitions include the Shard building at London Bridge and Heathrow’s terminal four.

QIA investments are driven by long-term growth potential. The same investment strategy would be expected for an English football club.

Playing favourites

The personal preferences of Sheikh Tamim or his father, Sheikh Hamad, cannot be discounted as these will be given priority.

The Emir of Qatar, head of the monarchy, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (pictured with Lisandro Martinez), fourth son of the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, is a Red Devils fan.

He is not just a fair-weather fan but is well-versed in the club’s longstanding history.

Following this year’s World Cup’s success, football has seeped into Qatar’s collective consciousness and identity.

The purchase of a renowned English football club would also double as the acquisition of valuable screentime worldwide. English football has always occupied a special place in the homes and hearts of football fans worldwide.

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