To satisfy UEFA rules, if a takeover is carried out by Qatari investors, they will have to provide sufficient evidence that there is no overlap or links with Paris Saint-Germain.
“Member associations shall ensure that no person or body (including holding companies and subsidiaries) exercises control or influence over more than one of their clubs whenever the integrity of a match or competition organized at Member Association level could be compromised. The member associations include such an obligation in their statutes and adopt the necessary implementing provisions.
Article 7 of the UEFA regulations is unequivocal. Should Qatar’s interest in buying Manchester United from the Glazer family materialize in a potential takeover, that could also prove to be the biggest hurdle to completing a deal.
On Tuesday night, the Daily Mail reported that a “number of wealthy people” from Qatar were coalescing to bid for the Old Trafford club in a possible record sports team sale.
But the identity of those people was not specified, while later reports elsewhere indicated that the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, was interested.
To satisfy UEFA rules in the event of a takeover, they will need to provide sufficient evidence that there is no overlap or ties with Qatar Sports Investment, owners of Paris Saint-Germain.
Otherwise, a deal is unlikely to be reached as it would lead to a situation where one of the two clubs would be barred from participating in the Champions League.
The Mail report says the group examining United is not linked to QSI and its advisers are confident it can be proven that no conflict of interest exists.
But QSI is affiliated with the Qatar Investment Authority, the state’s sovereign wealth fund. QSI Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi also sits on QIA’s Board of Directors.
The Glazers have confirmed they will listen to offers in November and Raine Group, the US investment bank which also oversaw the sale of Chelsea last year, has been tasked with overseeing the process.
A soft deadline of mid-February has been set for the submission of bids and one of Britain’s wealthiest men, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has already confirmed his interest.
Still, the advertised asking price for the Glazers is around £6billion, an unprecedented sum for a sports team and more than double what Chelsea ended up selling for last spring.
The deal, which saw Clearlake Capital and US businessman Todd Boehly take over from sanctioned Russian Roman Abramovich, was worth around £2.5bn with an additional £1.5bn investment pledged in infrastructure.
Experts believe United’s true value is between £2bn and £2.5bn, but the club’s history and name could see it sold for more than that figure.
On November 22 last year, a statement from United said the club were “beginning a process to explore strategic alternatives…as part of this process the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment in the club, a sale or other dealings involving the business.”