Sir Jim Ratcliffe leaves Old Trafford after talks to buy Manchester United

  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe leaving Old Trafford on Friday morning

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been seen leaving Old Trafford after talks with Manchester United representatives to buy the club.

The INEOS founder, from Failsworth, has bid to buy United after the Glazers indicated they want to sell the club.

Ratcliffe attended a presentation by United’s management team alongside INEOS sport representatives.

It was announced in November that the United owners, the Glazer family, were conducting a strategic review and a sale was one option being considered. There have subsequently been several bids launched including from a Qatari consortium lead by Sheikh Jassim.

  • Kieran Maguire, a football finance lecturer at The University of Liverpool

Mr Ratcliffe, 70, grew up as a United fan and there is some attraction to Red Devils fans to have an owner who also supports the club.

Kieran Maguire, a football finance lecturer at The University of Liverpool said: "I think there's an emotional attraction to Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

"You can see the appeal from that perspective. It looks as those his bid would exclude the shares on the New York stock exchange, it would just be those owned by the Glazers.

"We're not quite sure how the nature of his bid would take place, it could involve the club taking on additional debt.

"Whereas the Qatari bid is for 100% of the shares and would be equity's unlikely the club would take on additional borrowings."

Sir Jim Ratcliffe leaving Old Trafford Credit: PA Images

Sheikh Jassim did not travel to Manchester on Thursday but sent a strong delegation, with a visit to Old Trafford followed by presentations and conversations at Carrington.

It is understood Shahzad Shahbaz, president of Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, was in attendance along with the Qatari banker’s personal advisor Fady Bakhos.

Sam Powers and Yasir Shah from Bank of America were part of the delegation, along with lawyers from Macfarlanes and retail estate experts.

It is understood Sheikh Jassim’s team visited for 10 hours – far longer than expected – and remain committed to buying the club following Thursday’s substantive talks.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS group own Ligue 1 outfit Nice and while current UEFA rules prevent owners of multiple clubs with “decisive influence” from being in the same competition, that may change.

“Those are the current rules, which we have to rethink,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in an interview with Gary Neville’s The Overlap Channel.

“We have to speak about these regulations and see what to do about it.

“There is more and more interest for this multi-club ownership. We shouldn’t just say no for the investments for multi-club ownership, but we have to see what kind of rules we set in that case because the rules have to be strict.

“Look, we are not thinking about United only. We had like five or six owners of clubs who want to buy another club.

“We have to see what to do. I won’t say what we do but we first have to speak in the house and bring it to the executive committee.

“The options are that it stays like that or that we allow them to play in the same competition.

“I think it has to be quick because everything has to happen quick. It wouldn’t be correct that I speak about something that we didn’t discuss much.”

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