Manchester United Supporters Seek Transparency Amid Ratcliffe's Interest in Minor Stake

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Manchester United Supporters Seek Transparency Amid Ratcliffe’s Interest in Minor Stake

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Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani has withdrawn his effort to acquire the 20-time English champions.

A prominent Manchester United fans’ association has called for transparency concerning the future of the club amid reports of British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s intention to acquire a minority stake. Nearly a year ago, the American Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, declared their exploration of “strategic alternatives to enhance the club’s growth,”

including the possibility of a full sale. However, the bid from Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who sought to buy the 20-time English champions, was recently abandoned, according to a source close to the matter.

Jim Ratcliffe was a leading contender during multiple rounds of bidding, but no offer thus far has matched the Glazers’ valuation of the club at £6 billion ($7.2 billion).

The founder of the petrochemicals conglomerate Ineos, Ratcliffe is now poised to secure a 25 percent stake for approximately £1.3 billion, as reported by the BBC on Sunday. Ineos is expected to seek control over the sporting aspects of Manchester United’s business in exchange for its investment.

The Glazers have faced disapproval from fans since their leveraged takeover of the club in 2005 for £790 million, which resulted in substantial debts.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust stated, “It would be wildly optimistic to think the Glazers are acting in the interests of supporters or are making ownership decisions which don’t center on their own priorities. However, what

supporters should expect at the very least now is some clarity and an end to this process. Furthermore, the outcome must include new investment into the club. It cannot be solely about the interests of shareholders, whether existing or new. We call upon all parties to put Manchester United interests before their own interests.”

Gary Neville, a former United captain, expressed his concerns about the impact a minority investment could have in revitalizing the club’s fortunes, both on and off the field. He also emphasized his preference for a complete exit of the Glazer family from the club.

United, once the dominant force in English football, has seen its fortunes decline during the Glazers’ tenure. The club has not claimed the Premier League title since the retirement of former manager Alex Ferguson in 2013 and last won the

Champions League in 2008. Currently, they are in 10th place in the Premier League and have lost their first two Champions League group stage matches for the first time in the club’s history.

Despite their commercial success, United has fallen behind their competitors off the field. The club’s debt has swelled to £970 million, as reported in March, despite limited investment in their stadium and training ground. Old Trafford was

overlooked in favor of Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium for the UK and Ireland’s successful bid to host Euro 2028. Neville also raised concerns about the need for significant investment in Old Trafford’s surrounding land.

(Note: This story has been automatically generated from a syndicated feed and has not been edited by NDTV staff.)

Reference:

https://sports.ndtv.com/english-premier-league/man-utd-fans-seek-clarity-as-ratcliffe-eyes-minority-stake-4484322

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