Qatar took over Manchester United It would be nothing but an English football disgrace.
This is a disgraceful moment for the sport. Worry is twofold, both having a multiplying effect on the other to have a potentially irreversible effect on the game. At its moral core is that the biggest club in English football represents the biggest problem in football right now. United would be used politically to mitigate one of the most criticized human rights records in the world, which focused on a work system described as modern slavery and ultimately made this noble institution complicit.
United would no longer be just a community of fans excited by Salford, Manchester and a glorious history of adventure and challenge. would be about Train, foreign policy and the kind of issues that should not concern football. “Sport wash” is a very bland description of what’s actually going on here, especially when you consider the other subject.
The acquisition of United in a state bid means that all three main countries maintaining the Gulf blockade eventually have big clubs, including the biggest one in England. what for what Premier League is is? The world’s most-watched league would become, to far greater degrees, the most morally uncompromising league. The contest would turn into a political arena. Manchester would become a political arena. No one should be misled about this.
This is even before we get to the actual cost of the game. It would represent complete surrender to oppressive regimes, potentially making it nearly impossible for anyone to compete. The Qatari hierarchies in charge of Paris Saint-Germain bought Neymar for a world record because they knew that if wages and fees were that high, only a handful of clubs could match them. This would narrow that space even further, as it would pair the unlimited funds of one of the world’s leading oil economies with a football financial crush. This is not sport.
And no one should be under any illusions about the nature of the offer. As with Sheikh Mansour in the City, Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani is simply represents a conduit for state power. Qatar’s passion for sport is now well known. Meanwhile, it’s easier to understand why a government fund such as the Qatar Investment Authority or Qatar Sports Investments is underestimated by so many sources. It makes it easy to position this separately from PSG ownership. Make no mistake, everything would return to Emir. After all, this is an autocracy in which the monarch has full executive power.
It’s also a state that abruptly changed numbers for migrant workers who lost their lives in the making of the World Cup in the middle of the tournament. A state that refuses to research these numbers.
How can any official statement be believed?
And yet, like most enduring tragedies, it is a tragedy made almost inevitable by inherent moral flaws. Most focus on basic greed and greed. Like this is the last point the game has built for 15 years, if not 30, a series of different moments come together to make it inevitable.
You can go back to the Football Association’s decision in 1983 to allow Tottenham Hotspur to set up a holding company to float on the stock market, followed by United in 1991. was founded and of course opened the door to buyers like Glazers.
The 2005 United acquisition perhaps symbolized the extreme example of this reckless and reckless economic model for sport. Allowing a self-sustaining and thriving club to be acquired in a leveraged buyout, it seems, remains a disgrace, primarily as a way for billionaires to make more money at the expense of a social institution.
But this still isn’t the same institution used to increase a state’s influence without improving its human rights record – which is exactly what happens here. That was exactly the problem at a turning point in the mid-2000s. His adoption of capitalism enabled him to reach a financial dimension to have a capital beyond money. It had social power and influence. It had geopolitical power.
This was the first thing Roman Abramovich felt before the Gulf blockade states produced a playbook; Some of the ideas put forward in government documents such as Policy Agenda 2007/08 and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. He bought City without question because he couldn’t really imagine what it was actually for. A precedent was set, and the game had an uncorrectable problem before realizing it was a problem.
As with British, French, and Western European infrastructure, these states began buying all kinds of assets and institutions for influence, but the prize was football. You just have to look at how so many fans are mobilized. Other clubs were sponsored, those that could not be bought were used for partnership deals. The game is almost landlocked by a peninsula in the Gulf. This was showcased by the wonderful spectacle that was the World Cup, but the fact that Qatar effectively had the two stars of the final, Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappe, showed the true depth of control. At this point, the state had direct influence at the top of the game, with Nasser Al-Khelaifi as president of the European Club Association and an influential member of the Uefa executive committee.
If the Qatar deal comes to fruition, he’s the gamer to consult and must decide the split between the owners of United and PSG.
It should be noted that this effect comes from the vacuum left by the unsuccessful Super League caused by the inability to control the clubs run by the state itself.
Now one of those states wants to buy the biggest clubs. There is priority, there is will, there is process, there is an almost complete lack of protection.
No one in football thought of putting anything in place, even after the perceived low point like Saudi Arabia’s takeover of Newcastle United.
It’s ironically devious that this governance failure is reaching another low point at the point where the industry is in order.
This does not mean that this is certain or that any of the other bidders should not be questioned.
Rumors are growing that Glazers isn’t selling because they’re looking for minority investment instead. Another interpretation of this is that it is a classic sales tactic in the merger and acquisition process.
There is a fair debate about INEOS’ alleged “greenwashing” and some of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s policies, but even that is overshadowed by Qatar. The Qatar proposal will be built on the money of one of the largest fossil fuel economies with resistance to environmentalism. The World Cup, meanwhile, was rated as “the highest carbon event of any kind human-staged outside of war” by leading climate crisis researcher Mike Berners Lee.
It’s just that the fate of the planet is almost the least of the problems with the Qatari bid. We are there. If they pay enough, there’s nothing in football that can stop it except the judgment of Glazer.
This means that this great club has become a symbol of the worst problems in the game. It is an English football tragedy with global consequences.