Who is Sheikh Jassim who wants to take over at Manchester United?

Sheikh Jassim
Sheikh Jassim is a Quatari banker Credit: PA Images

He is the mega-rich Middle Eastern businessman who wants to buy Manchester United, the football club he is said to have supported from boyhood.

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani was born in 1982 and is believed to have been educated at boarding school in the UK before going on to Sandhurst Military College where Prince William was also a cadet.

His father Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani also known as HBJ is a former prime minister of the Middle East state.

Experts estimate he has a personal net worth of between £1-1.5 billion.

The Sheikh's family is thought to have a collective fortune of £275 billion. Sheikh Jassim is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank.

He has created the Nine Two foundation to buy Manchester United and it is thought he has insisted the bid is not linked to the Qatari state.

The Nine Two foundation is believed to have been named after the famous Class of 92, including David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

They became the team nurtured by Sir Alex Ferguson to win the treble in 1999.

David Beckham in 1997 as he and his team mates started to create the success that would bring them the treble in 1999 Credit: PA

He hopes to take full control of the club and has vowed, if he does so, to wipe all debts and invest considerably in the club and its infrastructure and support local communities.

"The bid plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and - above all - will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more," a statement read.

The Sheikh's bid promises to bring debt free improvements on and off the pitch at Old Trafford. Credit: PA Images

His statement continues: "The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world."

Al Thani’s intentions are for investment for the club’s training centre and wider infrastructure as well as improvements to the stadium and the surrounding communities.

Fans have always protested against the American owners of the club Credit: PA

The American owners the Glazers acquired the club for 750 million pounds in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005.

Fans were unhappy at how much debt that put the club into.

The Glazers opened the gates for a bidding war for the club when they announced they were seeking "strategic alternatives" that could include a sale in 2022.

Manchester United Co-chairman Avram Glazer (front left) and chief executive Richard Arnold. Credit: PA Images

Sheikh Jassim has not personally attended meetings at Old Trafford. His banking and legal representatives are said to have been involved in 10 hours of talks.

Concerns have been raised about Qatari treatment of the LGBTQ+ community by fans group the Rainbow Devils, concerns voiced when the World Cup was staged there in 2022.

The Manchester United Supporters's Trust echoed those concerns.

“We note the importance that any owner respects the rights of all people, particularly women and the LGBTQ+ community. Concerns have been raised by other fans groups which we fully support.”