A bid from Qatar for Manchester United is likely to be accepted by UEFA, according to a new report.
The club has been put up for sale by the current majority shareholders, the Glazer family, with a price tag of around $5 billion.
This limits the list of potential bidders to a very small elite.
Qatar Sport Investment (QSI), a subsidiary of the sovereign investment fund, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), already owns Paris Saint Germain, making a full takeover of United a conflict of interest that UEFA would be unlikely to endorse.
However, another group within Qatar has been linked with an interest and despite the fact that they, too, would ultimately have Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as their ultimate head, UEFA will “give Qatar the green light” to their ownership of the club, The Daily Mail claims.
The Mail quotes UEFA rules which state that “no club participating in UEFA club competitions may….hold or deal securities or shares in any other club participating’ or ‘be involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating.”
However, “UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body, which regulates competitions, is likely to rule the dual ownership is legitimate as long as Sheikh Tamim is a symbolic, hands-off figure and the two teams have separate management and distinct corporate structures, which do not collude.”
The report cites the situation with Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig, which UEFA ruled were governed in a way where there was not a “decisive influence” on one by the other.
“They also stated that clubs should only be barred if ‘decisive influence’ related to matters ‘that affect the performance of a club in a competition and not simply generic corporate, commercial, financial or other business activities, which do not directly affect sporting performance,’”, The Mail added.
British billionnaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS has also stated its intention to bid but the Qatari consortium is expected to outbid them, with reports suggesting Ratcliffe will not exceed $4 billion.
INEOS, too, would have to satisfy UEFA that there was no “decisive influence” between OG Nice, also owned by the company, and United, if their takeover bid was to be successful.
Bids must be submitted for the club by Friday, with a Saudi Arabian investor and up to three US entities also set to enter the fray.