Opinion: Hypocrisy and virtue signalling aside, are we any better than Qatar?

Qatar’s first venture into football came over a decade ago when they acquired a majority stake in Paris Saint-Germain in 2011. Months later, they became sole owners.

Paris Saint-Germain are state-owned but Qatar Sports Investment is the entity credited with taking the club to the pinnacle of football.

Since that historic deal was made, PSG have become trendsetters in a number of areas on and off the pitch. Off it, you are unlikely to read anything about their owners unless you go looking for it. QSI’s objective was to create the next ‘superclub’ and over a decade later, you must concede that they have been successful.

Now, after 18 years of being majority shareholders of Manchester United, the Glazer family are finally cashing out on their investment and have invited interested parties to table their bids for a minority or full sale.

A number of consortiums are said to be interested but Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the boyhood United fan, and Qatar are the only ones to have made their intentions public.

Ratcliffe’s bid comes through INEOS, the petrochemicals company which the 70-year-old chairs. Financially, he will involve JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs. The former was a central cog in the disgraced launch of the European Super League in 2021.

Qatar’s offer is not dependent on loans our outside investment but comes via Qatar Investment Authority, a separate entity from QSI and would enable the state to own two clubs competing in the same competition.

The same owners were pivotal in helping Qatar win their bid to host the 2022 World Cup and that was the trigger – the virtual tree-huggers were out of the woodworks.

The idea that a country has beliefs that are not adapted to the latest digital generation is completely unfathomable in Europe, but specifically the west.

Every little detail of what made Qatar the country it is was under scrutiny and placed under the microscope – an unstoppable God complex swept the world of journalism and virtue-signalling reached an all-time high.

But still, it was not deemed out of touch to criticise Qatar for not abiding by the countless social laws created by entitled Westerners over the last 15 years.

As someone with a Middle-Eastern background and a lifelong resident in Europe, differences in culture cannot be compared and you would be forgiven for thinking that Europe are the winners here. In reality, they could learn a thing or five from the country they were desperate to put down.

Qatar’s interest in acquiring the biggest club in England is not a surprise and there are not many ethical flaws to it all either – at least not when they are compared to Ratcliffe, their biggest rival.

Qatar, like the rest of the Middle East, have a rich footballing culture and are deeply invested in the sport. Their past endeavours also prove their ambition – they are not in it for financial gain.

They know what they are doing and if Manchester United end up under their stewardship, they will develop, on all levels, at a frightening pace. At the end of the day, that’s all you want as a supporter.

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  1. Absolutely 100% correct….I would love the Qatari’s at OT,
    Much better than local man come good but buying on leverage Jim…

  2. Pure hypocrite you would be state owned funded by oil money by a state whose laws and actions your fanbase has always called out ,what happened to your famous istorie!! And values

    1. Thanks for your comment, Steve. Arvin has not said anything to suggest he thinks Qatar has a squeaky clean human rights record. It’s not and we’ve known that for some time about other states too. Have you any idea how it was sorted before Manchester United, or how it will be sorted after Manchester United? Otherwise we’ll be going around in circles.

    2. Hi Steve, thank you for the comment. I did not take any financial aspect into consideration in the piece and I did not claim to be in favour of a Qatari ownership. I am merely questioning the difference in coverage of the two major bids that have been placed. To clarify, I do not take any position as to who I would rather see own the club.

    3. Not so much their laws. The fact that the likes of City, whose local derby not so long ago was vs Stockport, suddenly became the earthiest club by cheating and creating false sponsors, enabling them to buy Aguero, Toure and other world class players who hadn’t even heard of City. Brown envelopes supplementing highest wages in the game etc etc
      If Qatar does, in fact, purchase the club, United will be able to operate, as they always have done, on the back of the greatest support in the game. They merely need access to their own income, instead of watching it fly out to Florida. The stadium, which has always been the highest standard in the country and maintained and improved regularly since it was rebuilt after being bombed during WWII, can now be brought back to its former glory. Whether new owners put their own money into that or not, is beside the point. If they do, they’ll be making up for the billions that the Glazers will have stolen from the club.
      Nobody cared about morals when the Americans, with their idiotic gun laws, sky high murder rates, routine abuse, beatings and murder of black community stole the club but woe betide if United join Chelsea, City, Newcastle (that won’t be the end of it) to not become a club financed way beyond its own means, but merely to get back to where we were. Manchester United are more than capable of standing on their own two feet. If Qatar decide to pump money in, they are merely doing what City and Chelsea enjoyed for nearly 20 years. Where was your outrage then? Yep, it only emerges when United benefit. As usual, whether it’s a new interpretation of the laws of the game or whether we fall foul of a suddenly different interpretation, which then reverts back to normal after United have been clobbered with it again, it only hits the headlines for United. Where’s the outrage for City? Caught virtually red handed, breaching the laws and still continues.

  3. It’s shocking how we jump and criticise Middle Eastern Countries. Being an Englishmen I was at Qatar for the World Cup and I was astonished at their hospitality, etiquette and manners. Having gone to several World Cups it was the most civilised and enjoyable World Cup in my 60 years. I am an Army Veteran and I can only think of the countless Countries we have invaded, Civilians that have been killed. Our Country and its People must look at our own barbaric history before we judge others.

    1. Hi David, thank you for the comment. It’s a minor detail but I have to agree with you – my experience with people with backgrounds from the Middle East has been the same.

  4. Europeans should not mention human rights at all unless they want to face up to the fact that Europe and America are guilty of causing the most atrocious suffering around the world.

  5. For most informed United fans, it’s not so much wanting Qatar but more the fear of Ratcliffe or another US owner repeating the neglect of the near past 20 years. Depending on whether the stadium is renovated or rebuilt, the new owners, on top of the $5 ~ billion purchase of the club, will need to invest in the squad and stadium. $8 billion? If Ratcliffe or another American comes in, they will want a return on that outlay. More funds taken from the club. All United fans ask is for the club to be in the healthy, debt free state it always has been. United can look after itself.

  6. Wait a minute, is jim not an american. I wonder how some people are still talking about american buying manchester united. Look am straight forward guy,once u fuck up get the fuck out of the place and let other people manage it regardless whoever they are. USELESS GLAZERS.

  7. I massively disagree with this article. You use words such as “virtue signalling” but don’t reference valid points made by people apposed to a state ownership and the World Cup. With the upmost respect to our Middle Eastern friends we have to question this country where being gay is a crime, where migrant workers are treated like scum and there are multiple laws that discriminate against women- these aren’t “western values” they’re human values, no one should be discriminated for who they are.Man Utd don’t need a sugar daddy in the form of a multi billionaire state, the club earns enough through its own revenue.

  8. “At the end of the day, that’s all you want as a supporter “

    Maybe this is true if you’re willing to turn a blind eye to everything else. Maybe if you’re willing to ignore the principles the club was founded on. Maybe if you consider any efforts to point out horrendous atrocities as “virtue signalling” like the right wing idiots who run the UK currently.

    It’s doubly sad to me because with Ten Hag we were headed in the right direction anyway. Everything won under Qatari ownership will be stained. Qatar’s defenders talk about criticism being shrouded in racism. Qatar exploits people on the basis of their race daily. They built a World Cup on the back of it.

    And if you feel you can look the other way because “the west” (as if it’s homogenous) has its own history of racism and exploitation, why did you fall in love with the club in the first place? If UK culture is so corrupt and hypocritical, why not support a club in another country which isn’t? This isn’t a defence. Just say you don’t care and are happy to win at all costs like NUFC and MCFC fans are.

  9. Just to clarify, QSi is indeed, and remains, a subsidiary of QIA. So the State of Qatar already owns PSG and is likely to have direct ownership of Man United through a bit of bait and switch.

    While I personally have no objection to the Qataris owning United, it would be appropriate that QSi sell-off a majority stake in PSG to some 3rd party to avoid UEFA’s (poorly implemented) FFP rules. PSG wont get bigger than United.

    That said, I laugh at City and Chelsea fans mocking us for ‘double standards’. Mate, your clubs became successful because of rich owners: Abu Dhabi owns City and Chelsea were owned by a Putin-linked oligarch. We were successful without needing any and we EARNED our riches, while the Glazers took the clubs own money to line their own pockets.


    1. Oh and I forgot to add: many people in Western publications have raised a lot of hue and cry on Qatar’s HR abuses especially towards its migrant workforce. But their criticism can go overboard and become a self-parody.

      They almost treat Qatar as some Arab North Korea, without actually remembering that Qatar (and every other GCC state) are very critical strategic allies for US, UK, and EU in the region. They are not some isolated pariah but major partners for Western govts and institutions. Post-Brexit Britain needs all the foreign investment it can get.

  10. I have commented on various articles about the hypocrisy of the west. The supposed entitlement and feeling of being the superior culture without actually understanding how they operate or function. The same west demonising the purchase of Utd are the same who would sell billions of dollars worth of arms to carry out whatever they wish. Who also says that only the west should be legitimate buyers of assets. Capitalism says may the best man with the deepest pocket win. Seems in this case that the Qataris win.

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