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02-25-2011, 07:03 AM #1
Qatari royal family in £1.5bn bid to buy Manchester United from the GlazersThe royal family of Qatar is preparing a fresh £1.5billion bid for Manchester United after the Glazers rejected an earlier offer.
A source close to the oil-rich emirate’s ruling Al Thani family confirmed that it tried to tempt the Glazers earlier this month with an offer of just over £1bn.
The bid was turned down by the Americans, who are holding out for closer to £1.8bn.
Qatar's Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani (centre) meets Queen Elizabeth II
But the Al Thanis are on the verge of raising the stakes, partly motivated by rivalry with the Abu Dhabi royal family, whose wealth has transformed United’s arch-rivals Manchester City into title contenders.
Going head to head on the pitch would give the Al Thanis the opportunity to get one over on their Gulf neighbours, with the Manchester football scene offering a high-profile battleground.
Qatar is also keen to portray itself as a football-loving nation, after critics said it did not deserve to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup, because of its lack of football history.
Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (centre) on his first trip to Eastlands
While Qatar’s preference is a lone bid, it is also considering a Plan B that would see it go into partnership with the Red Knights, a group of wealthy United fans who put a £1bn bid for the club on ice last year.
The collective of City financiers and wealthy fans have made clear their determination to wrest control of the club from the Glazers, but do not have the funds to match the
Americans’ price tag.
A partnership would combine the billions of oil-rich Qatar with the groundswell of popular backing that the Red Knights could attract from fans.
No deal: Joel and Avram Glazer...being a human...