Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani has submitted his third and final bid to purchase Manchester United football club, according to his representatives. The bid, which was submitted before the Friday night deadline set by the club’s current owners, the Glazer family of the United States, offers an undisclosed figure to purchase the club and an additional investment directly into the club.
Jassim is the chairman of a leading Qatari bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister. His ‘debt-free bid’, which was first submitted in February, seeks full ownership of the club.
In addition to offering an undisclosed amount to buy the club, Jassim’s proposal includes a plan to invest a significant amount of additional capital and infrastructure investment into the club directly. This would be separate from the money paid to the sellers.
British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe was the only party to submit a bid before Friday’s deadline, according to a report by the British state broadcaster, BBC. Ratcliffe, founder and head of the INEOS chemicals conglomerate, is reportedly seeking 69% ownership of the club, the same percentage owned by the Glazers.
Jassim’s bid was submitted through his Nine Two Foundation and promised a bright future for the club if he were to be successful. This includes investment in the football teams, the training center, the stadium, the fan experience, and the communities the club supports. Jassim “plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch”.
According to experts, Jassim’s bid aligns with Qatar’s ambition to be seen as a sporting powerhouse. Qatar is currently focusing on hosting sporting events such as the Asian Cup in 2024 and the Asian Games in 2030, while the potential purchase of a Premier League football club would be part of its next stage in this ambition.
The Glazers announced plans to sell the club last November, and the bidding process began in February. They reportedly want to sell for £6 billion ($7.5 billion), a record fee for a sports club. Jassim’s representatives have said “it is now time for the sellers to make a decision as to how they will proceed” with the bidding process.
However, the Glazers have not confirmed when the process will close or if the club will change hands at all.