FIFA clear the path for Qatar takeover of Man Utd

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FIFA have reportedly cleared the way for Qatar’s takeover of Manchester United after chiefs at football’s governing body ruled out preventing nation states from owning clubs. The takeover process is expected to accelerate this week with interested parties said to be expected at Old Trafford for crunch talks with US merchant bank the Raine Group including representatives from Qatar.

United were first put on the market in November after the Glazer family announced that it was ‘commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives’ for the club. Options ranging from bringing ‘new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company’ were to be considered with interested parties invited to come forward.

Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are the only parties to have publically confirmed that they have made an offer for the club since the Raine Group’s soft deadline passed last month.

The Qatar bid has already had to overcome a number of hurdles with strict UEFA rules around the ownership of clubs. The group need to demonstrate that United would not be administered by the same structure and personnel as PSG otherwise they could fall foul to regulations on owning two teams in the same European competition.

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There is also pressure on the Premier League to prevent ownership from nation-states with other clubs demanding action over Saudi Arabia’s ownership of Newcastle United, something which could also hamper the Qatari bid for the Red Devils.

However, FIFA will not sanction any rules like this according to The Sun. Gianni Infantino has made clear he is relaxed on state ownership and will do nothing to intervene.

“Gianni has the same view now that he had when he was at Uefa,” a source close to the FIFA President told the newspaper. “He said then that he believed any investment in football is good, wherever it comes from, provided that it is good investment. That position has not changed.

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“He is the President of Fifa now and he believes what the game needs is investors, good people who want to put money into football, provided it is good.”

Meetings are set to take place between the Raine Group and potential investors this week as the sale of the club moves ever closer. Al Thani and Ratcliffe are unlikely to take part in conversations directly but representatives for the duo will be involved as the battle for the keys to Old Trafford takes a step forward.

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