Emir of Qatar enters race to buy Manchester United

London, Feb 8 (IANS): The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is interested in buying Premier League giants Manchester United, according to a media report.

He values the club below the Glazer family's 6 billion pound price and there is recognition UEFA may have to agree to a regulation change as the country's ruler already owns French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), The Guardian reported.

The emir purchased PSG in 2011 through Qatar Sports Investment. Current UEFA rules do not allow clubs with the same owners to face each other in one of its competitions, so a Qatar-owned United and Qatar-owned PSG would not be allowed to compete in a Champions League tie should such a fixture arise, The Guardian reported.

While the purchase of United is being explored, it is understood those driving the Qatar interest are conscious of the UEFA rules and a solution is being sought. This could include trying to persuade UEFA to consider the possibility of adjusting or changing its regulations.

The Glazer family put United up for sale in November last year, announcing it is "commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives", potentially bringing an end to its 17-year ownership of the club.

The Raine Group, which oversaw the sale of Chelsea, has been appointed as the exclusive financial advisor, and it believed 6 billion pound is wanted for the 20-time champions of England. However, the emir believes 4.5 billion pound is a more realistic price, The Guardian reported.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a billionaire regarded as being one of Britain's richest people, confirmed his company, Ineos, was in the running to buy United last month. Radcliffe, 70, was born in Failsworth in Greater Manchester, and is a lifelong United supporter.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has described the Qatari interest in United as "another wake-up call" to the Premier League with regard to strengthening its ownership rules, The Guardian reported.



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