Man Utd takeover: Who is Sheikh Jassim, the Qatari contender tipped to win the race?

Qatari publication Al-Watan says Sheikh Jassim has won the race to buy the English Premier League side

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FILE. Manchester United fans display banners in protest of the Glazer family’s ownership of the club. Photo: Reuters
FILE. Manchester United fans display banners in protest of the Glazer family’s ownership of the club. Photo: Reuters

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Published: Wed 14 Jun 2023, 3:46 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Jun 2023, 2:33 PM

Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is set to take over English Premier League side Manchester United after long-drawn talks, according to Qatari media. There is no official word on the outcome, but an announcement is expected soon amid frenzied speculations.

Qatari publication Al-Watan, an outlet owned by the Qatari banker's father, says Sheikh Jassim has won the race to buy the club that boasts a record 20 League titles.

A report by Daily Mail claims that Sheikh Jassim submitted his final offer directly to club owners Glazer family and Raine Groupe, the bankers who are looking after Manchester United’s takeover process, last week. The "fifth and final bid" remains for 100 percent control of the club.

United announced in November that the board was exploring "strategic alternatives to enhance the club's growth", with a full sale one of the options, according to AFP news agency. Current owners, the Glazer family, are understood to value United at £6 billion ($7.5 billion) and the Raine Groupe was brought in to oversee the process.

Sheikh Jassim is not the only one who is interested in purchasing Manchester United. He is one of the two contenders in the fray to buy the Premier League outfit. UK’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of the chemical company Ineos, is the other figure vying for the Manchester United ownership.

Sheikh Jassim, son of former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, is a member of the Qatari royal family. According to multiple reports, Sheikh Jassim has been an ardent Manchester United fan since childhood. The Guardian says that as a supporter, he has been to a number of Manchester United matches. It is believed that his Nine Two Foundation is a reference to Manchester United’s famous 92 squad, which comprised big names such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel.

Sheikh Jassim was educated in Dorset and later he went on to study at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. He graduated as an officer cadet. He is the current chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), which is one of the largest banks in the Middle East region. The QIB was ranked third on the list of Forbes Middle East’s top 30 most valuable companies in Qatar. The list was published in December 2021. A former board member at Credit Suisse, Sheikh Jassim's net worth is not clear.

In February this year, Sheikh Jassim had come up with an official bid to buy Manchester United.

“Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani today confirmed his submission of a bid for 100% of Manchester United. The bid plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and – above all – will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United once more,” read a statement released by Sheikh Jassim via his Nine Two Foundation on February 18.


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