Amnesty International has warned that reports of an imminent Qatari bid for Manchester United should come with concern for the Premier League.
Manchester United were put up for sale in November when the Glazer family announced they were commending a process to explore strategic alternatives. They also appointed The Raine Group as their exclusive financial adviser.
A report from the Daily Mail on Tuesday night suggested that private investors from Qatar are keen to buy Manchester United, with the Gulf State group confident they can blow any competitors out of the water with their sheer wealth.
However, the human rights group accused these attempts from Qatar as another attempt to sportswash its image.
“Coming in the wake of the World Cup and strenuous efforts from the Qatari government to fashion a glitzy new image for the country, it seems highly likely that any Qatari bid for Manchester United would be a continuation of this state-backed sportswashing project,” Peter Frankental, Amnesty UK’s economic affairs director, said as per Yahoo.
“We saw only limited reforms on migrant workers’ rights in Qatar in the lead-up to the World Cup, and there’s been no movement whatsoever in ending the disgraceful criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people or institutional discrimination against women.
“It’s been nearly 18 months since the hugely controversial Saudi takeover of Newcastle United and a Qatari bid for Manchester United would be yet another wake-up call to the Premier League over the need to reform its ownership rules.
“We’re not necessarily opposed to the involvement of state-linked overseas financial consortia in English football, but the Premier League must urgently strengthen ownership rules to ensure they’re human rights-compliant and not an opportunity for more sports-washing.”
The Mail expect the Qatari bid will be made to the Raine Group in the coming days, while British businessmen Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also expected to make an offer.
Meanwhile, The Guardian have gone a bit further with their report by suggesting the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, values the club below the Glazer family’s £6 billion asking price.
There is recognition Uefa may have to agree to a regulation change as the country’s ruler already owns Paris Saint-Germain. He has owned the Ligue 1 club since 2011 through Qatar Sports Investment.
I think this should not be any problem from Uefa, let this bid go ahead as planned, and let politics be taken away from football. Enough is enough.