Qatar Sports Investments (QSi), owners of Paris Saint-Germain, is reportedly expecting a Saudi Arabia-based consortium to emerge as a potential bidder for Manchester United, joining Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos in being interested in the club.
Despite the Saudi Public Investment Fund already owning Newcastle United, The Athletic (opens in new tab) is reporting that the Qataris are anticipating a Saudi-based consortium to launch a bid to become the majority owners of Manchester United.
In November, Manchester United’s current owners, the Glazer family, said they were considering selling the club as they “explore strategic alternatives”, which could also have included new investment.
During the same month, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister confirmed that the state’s government would support a private sector bid.
He told BBC Sport (opens in new tab): “We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in, because we know that’s going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.
“But if there’s an investor willing to do so and the numbers add up, why not?”
So far, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos is the only potential bidder to officially state an interest in buying Manchester United.
Previously, reports have suggested that QSi was interested in buying Manchester United. However, with Raine Group – the merchant bank exclusively advising Manchester United in the sale of the club – hoping to sell within the first quarter of this year and complications surrounding UEFA regulations, it is unlikely QSI will be able to table a bid in time.
Indeed, QSi insists it is committed to PSG, and UEFA regulations state that if two clubs have the same majority-owner and qualify for the same competition, then only one team is allowed to enter. Therefore, if QSi owned both Manchester United and PSG and both teams qualified for the Champions League, then only own team could enter.
Qatar told The Athletic it was an “evolving situation”, though, suggesting plenty of outcomes are still available.
Perhaps the most probable outcome is QSi acquiring a minority ownership of Tottenham. In January, QSi chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi reportedly held talks with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy about the possibility of investment, though the club denies those reports.
A minority ownership wouldn’t affect UEFA regulations, however, with Spurs seemingly welcoming added investment in the club.