The UK government ‘will not block’ the Qatari bid for Manchester United as the group fronted by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani prepares a third and final offer for the club.
Sheikh Jassim is set to submit a final offer for the Red Devils ahead of Friday’s 10pm deadline, with the Qatari group having been among the most public suitors to takeover at Old Trafford.
The Qataris are understood to remain the ‘most likely’ candidate to take power if a full takeover is agreed and have ‘no interest’ in a partial stake.
The bid from the Middle East has received a boost after government officials confirmed the approach would not be blocked.
Fan groups have expressed concern over Premier League investment from Qatar – who hosted the World Cup last winter – with the nation having faced widespread criticism for a number of issues including human rights, LGBTQ+ rights and the treatment of migrant workers during preparations for the World Cup.
According to the Telegraph, the stance of the government means the final hurdle for the Qatari bid would be the Premier League’s directors’ and owners’ test. The Premier League approved changes to the test last month, which included a new provision for human rights abuses, based on Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations in 2020.
The lead competition to takeover Manchester United is thought to come from Sir Jim Ratcliffe – owner of petrochemicals company Ineos and regarded as Britain’s richest man – who is considering a proposal that would see current owners Joel and Avram Glazer retain a 20% stake at Old Trafford, with the 70-year-old purchasing a controlling stake of just over 50%.
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