Manchester United owners the Glazers family have announced a full sale of the club and American banking company the Raine Group are overseeing the process. It is expected that formal bids will arrive by mid-February and if everything moves according to the timeline set by the Glazers, United will have new owners by the start of the next season.
Meanwhile, many have expressed their interest in acquiring Britain’s most famous and decorated club, with the country’s wealthiest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who also is a lifelong Red Devils supporter one of those to openly confirm that he is in the running to bid for a United takeover. And nobody can keep the oil-rich middle east countries out of the race, with Qatar too confirming their interest. However, there could arise an issue if the same organisation owns two clubs competing in Europe.
The curious case of Qatar owning Manchester United and PSG at the same time
There are no restrictions on an owner purchasing multiple clubs simultaneously in various countries. Given that they already control Paris Saint-Germain, the Qatari group may thus can still make an offer for Manchester United. However, some leagues have different regulations that place limitations on prospective club purchases. The Premier League, which has a 10% shareholding cap in a second team in the division, is an example of this.
However, according to a latest report from the Daily Mail, the ‘bid for United would come from separate, individual Qatari investors’. The Qataris are anticipating a full and 100% takeover and no small share acquisition is desired. Insiders claim that the group is seeking for a new project in the Premier League to capitalise on the expertise they have gained from hosting the World Cup. And they see Manchester United as ‘the crown jewel’ of English football and want to resurrect the club.
Can the two teams of the same owner compete against each other in the Champions League?
As much as the United fans are excited by the prospect of a Qatari group bidding to takeover their club, there may be a big stumbling block. Manchester United are desperate to get back into the UEFA Champions League after missing out on it this season, but a Qatari takeover could shatter their dreams and desire. The reason being UEFA bringing into the effect ‘Integrity of the UEFA Club competitions’. The concept states:
“Independence of clubs’ rule in 1998 which states that no two clubs participating in a UEFA competition may be directly or indirectly controlled by the same ownership group.
This is defined by:
- The majority of the shareholders’ voting rights in another club in the same UEFA club competition;
- Or, another right to appoint or remove a majority of the directors in another club in the same UEFA club competition;
- As well as, majority of the shareholders’ voting rights (through a shareholders’ agreement) in another club in the same UEFA club competition.”
As evident from UEFA’s rules and regulations as per the ‘Integrity of the UEFA Club competitions’, the Qatari ownership group would then probably have to decide who participates in the Champions League between Manchester United and PSG if they own both the clubs at the same time and they qualify for the elite European competition. To preserve the integrity of the competition, these regulations have been put in place by the UEFA.