Bidders including Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani have moved to the next stage of the process that could lead to a takeover of Manchester United.
This part will involve access to data room information and give bidders an opportunity to conduct due diligence.
It is expected it could be a slow process as bidders pore over the details of the club’s commercial contracts.
Sheikh Jassim and Ineos both confirmed their offers to purchase United from the Glazer family last month and are the only bidders to have gone public.
Sources close to wealthy banker Sheikh Jassim insist he is bidding alone as a private individual, without any direct or indirect support from the Qatari state or the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust has expressed concerns around multi-club ownership – Qatar Sports Investments controls Paris St Germain – and around human rights.
Sheikh Jassim has indicated his bid would leave the Old Trafford club debt free.
Ratcliffe, a self-proclaimed United fan, is one of the UK’s wealthiest people with an estimated net worth of £12.5billion following the success of his global chemical company.
A statement from Ineos last month read: “We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community.
“We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again.”
Meanwhile, Gary Neville says he has reservations about Sheikh Jassim becoming the new owner of Man Utd.
“There has to be a cost control on clubs otherwise you would get a disparity and it would take away its competitive edge. That’s where the game needs proper regulation,” Neville said on The Overlap.
“Sustainability measures, real-time financial monitoring. Clubs should be allowed to invest to get up to the level of the top clubs. Newcastle’s owners, Brighton’s owners should be able to invest up to level to compete with Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man city, all the top revenue clubs.
“I wouldn’t feel right if we had an ownership that came in and we started spending a billion or £800m every transfer market signing five best players in the world and we were winning the league every year.
“That’s not right. That’s not protecting the pyramid, that’s destroying English football. so we do need cost controls in place.”
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