Manchester United: Qatari investors consider buying minority stake as full takeover ruled out
atar Sports Investments (QSI) is considering buying a minority stake in Manchester United or another Premier League club.
QSI is reportedly working alongside a consortium of international investors seeking to acquire a significant stake in an English club, with United being one of those under consideration.
The organization is a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which has assets worth an estimated US$450 billion (over £372 billion).
Sources familiar with the talks say a full takeover of United by anyone linked to Qatar is out of the question.
QSI – who own Paris St Germain – remain tied to PSG, meaning a full United takeover would not be allowed under UEFA regulations.
However, United are seen as one of several English clubs that Qatar is considering.
QIA chief executive Mansoor Al Mahmoud told Bloomberg in January: “Football, clubs and sports are becoming very commercialized in a way, especially now that the fans see it as an experience, so they would like go and experience and be entertained.
“At the same time, digitization becomes very important for this, so the business model of these institutions becomes very commercial and very investment-friendly.
“Sovereign funds are becoming investors in certain clubs and you won’t be surprised if we invest in that (area) but again we’re going into a very fundamental process and making sure that if we invest it’s very commercially driven. for our future generations.”
Qatar’s leaders are acutely aware of the need to diversify the country’s economy given its limited natural gas reserves, so investment in the sports sector is a major area of focus.
The Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, announced last November that they were considering strategic options for the future of the club, including selling a stake in the club or the whole club.
Amnesty International said Qatar’s interest in United should act as a “wake-up call” for the Premier League.
“In the wake of the World Cup and the Qatari government’s strenuous efforts to shape a glitzy new image for the country, it seems highly likely that any Qatari bid for Manchester United would be a continuation of this government-backed sportswash project. ‘State. Peter Frankental, director of economic affairs at Amnesty UK, told PA.
“We have seen only limited reforms on migrant worker rights in Qatar in the run-up to the World Cup, and there has been no movement to end the shameful criminalization of LGBTQ+ people or the institutional discrimination against women.
“It’s been almost 18 months since the hugely controversial Saudi takeover of Newcastle United and a Qatari bid for Manchester United would be another wake-up call for the Premier League over the need to reform its ownership rules.
“We are not necessarily opposed to the involvement of state-linked foreign financial consortia in English football, but the Premier League must urgently tighten ownership rules to ensure they are in line with the rights of man and not an opportunity for more sports washing.”