Qatari investors interested in purchasing Manchester United have a major advantage as they attempt to navigate the conflict created by the Gulf state’s ownership of Paris St Germain – the excellent relationship enjoyed between UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin and Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
It remains to be seen whether Al-Khelaifi involves himself in Qatar’s potential takeover of the Red Devils.
Al-Khelaifi is the chairman of QSI, which owns PSG and also sits on the board of QIA that is rumoured to be backing Qatar’s bid for United.
The Telegraph reports that eventually, it will be the call of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, whether Al-Khelaifi will have to be involved in brokering a deal that will see Qatar take charge at Old Trafford.
Should Khelaifi be introduced into the deal, he will be able to call in a favour from his close friend and ally, Ceferin. Ceferin could have the final say in whether Qatar can own two juggernaut sporting entities at the same time without there being complications down the line.
The Telegraph says, “Untold good faith was secured two years ago as PSG became the only major club to turn down an invitation to join a European Super League breakaway.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Nasser,” said Ceferin, the president of European football during a keynote speech in that tumultuous week in April 2021. “You have shown that you are a great man and that you respect football and its values.”
While the likes of Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez and Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli lost their political goodwill with the sport’s governing bodies and authorities. Khelaifi rose in UEFA’s estimation.
After the botching of the Super League, the PSG honcho was swiftly re-appointed to the Uefa executive committee as ECA chairman.
In their efforts to take over the reins from the Glazer family, Qatar may seek the British government’s favour by fronting major plans for the redevelopment of Old Trafford.
Yesterday, The Peoples Person relayed that the Qatari investors have intricate plans for the city of Manchester, highlighted by building world-class five-star hotels. These Qatari investors will also undertake to develop the underutilised land surrounding Old Trafford.
QIA can also argue that their various other big-money acquisitions in England such as Harrods and the Shard building in London were not subject to the hurdles that threaten to derail their full takeover of the 20-time champions of England.
Tom Morgan mentions, “A green light for a takeover in the UK could see the baton then handed over to Al-Khelaifi to smooth the path towards multi-club ownership in the Champions League. Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body would almost certainly be told the emir is a hands-off figure at both clubs, with the two teams having distinct corporate structures.”
For Qatar, there is a precedent that massively works in their favour towards multi-club ownership and administration. Both Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig and Austrian outfit RB Salzburg have competed in the same competition despite being funded by the same soft drinks firm.
“Despite both clubs [Leipzing and Salzburg] being associated with the energy drink maker Red Bull, Uefa ruled six years ago that the teams did not breach its rules on European competition.”
It could also be argued that Qatar’s main rival in the United race, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has to contend with the same dilemma created by his involvement in OGC Nice, owned by INEOS. The 71-year-old billionaire is on the record declaring his commitment to converting Nice into a powerhouse in the European football scene.
Before giving the go-ahead UEFA will likely have to take into account divergent opinions, criticism and dissenting voices.
Human rights research and advocacy group FairSquare has already written to UEFA and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, effectively pleading with them to prohibit any Qatar-backed takeover of the Reds while QSI still has the reins at PSG.
The letter carefully details the close ties between the country’s major investment vehicles and the ruling family. As per FairSquare, Qatar’s pursuit of United threatens the integrity of Europe’s elite competitions.
The Glazers’ soft deadline to submit bids elapses tomorrow. Both Qatar and Ratcliffe will be in the mix as will other high-power individuals and consortia looking to come out on top in what has been dubbed “the sale of the century.”
These are exciting times for United supporters, who can finally envisage a future free and independent of the crushing Glazer rule that has held the team back for many years.
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