Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) has released an official comment regarding the two bids to takeover Manchester United.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS joined Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar as the only known parties to have officially lodged a bid to buy the club.
It has been reported that Ratcliffe has found Wall Street backers to help fund his takeover offer.
Fans have become slightly disillusioned by Ratcliffe’s potential ownership due to the unconfirmed debt situation.
The nature of the Sheikh’s Qatari roots, meanwhile, has been a problematic topic due to the nation’s entrenchment in controversy, namely its treatment and viewpoint of migrant workers, women, and LGTBQ+ persons.
MUST’s statement reads as follows:
“At the commencement of the sale process, MUST was very clear about our list of asks for any new owner of Manchester United.
“These were to restore the Club to the top of European football, invest in the teams, the wider Club and the stadium, to ensure financial stability, and to work in true partnership with fans at all times. These principles have been backed to date by 150 fan groups from all across the world.
“The open letter to bidders is published here: https://www.imust.org.uk/Blog/Entry/open-letter-to-potential-bidders-for-manchester-united
“Any bid will be judged against these criteria, but with the news of the specific bids coming in further considerations arise.
“There are questions about sporting integrity given the exceptionally close links between some bidders and the owners of other European clubs including PSG and Nice. There are also questions about whether any bids will also be based on high levels of debt.
“We also note the importance that any owner respects the rights of all people, particularly women and the LGBTQ+ community. Concerns have been raised by other fans groups which we fully support.
“We urge all bidders to open a dialogue with fans groups alongside the bidding process with the club, in order to discuss their proposals including the above issues.
“Finally, everyone can see the progress the team is making under Erik Ten Hag. After the frustrations of the last decade, it is clear that enormous strides are being taken. Any prospective bidder needs to explicitly commit to backing Erik and his plans to restore United to glory.”
Fan support for any prospective take over may have little to do with who is successful and who is not, but as the current owners know all too well, a bad relationship with the fans is damaging to business going forward.
MUST’s concerns could therefore act as a litmus test with the new ownership in regard to how they are willing to listen to fans and take their views on board.