After months of speculation, reports suggest that Manchester United are on the brink of new ownership.
According to a report from The Sun, a £6bn deal for the club is set to be completed by mid-October, as the Qatari Royal Family is set to have won the race to take ownership from the Glazers, with the bid spearheaded by former Crown Prince Sheikh Jassim.
It is widely anticipated the move will see significant investment in the club, both on and off the pitch, as upgrades to Carrington and Old Trafford are prioritised in a bid to see United continue to compete.
Jassim is also set to buy the club outright and pay off the significant amount of debt incurred by the club, eradicating the hindrance of fees that have halted United from being able to maximise assets in recent seasons.
After the Glazer family had put the club up for sale in November, many fans had hoped the deal would be completed in time for this summer’s transfer window. However, that passed without any clarification from the Glazer family, drawing significant criticism from fan groups and media.
Furthermore, anonymity towards the Glazer family was intensified by the club’s most recent financial results, which revealed that debt had exceeded £700m.
The main competition for Jassim was Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who had pitched an offer that enabled some of the Glazer family to retain a stake in the club, a move that saw his popularity amongst supporters decrease.
The move will draw criticism, however, with the Independent recently revealing that FIFA and Qatar had failed to follow through with promises over human rights in the region off the back of the 2022 World Cup.
Speaking to the newspaper, Amnesty International’s Stephen Cockburn revealed his belief that cases of exploitation are ‘quite commonplace’.
Taking aim at the legacy of the World Cup, he added: “We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of workers who face different types of abuses. There are many of these cases of security guards specifically employed for the three months around the World Cup who paid significant recruitment fees and they’ve been made to go home without everything they’re owed.”
Nonetheless, a FIFA spokesperson responded and outlined that the World Cup in 2022 was ‘a catalyst’ for significant reforms to working conditions in the country.