RIYADH: Rumors claiming the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wanted to buy UK football club Manchester United are “completely false,” Saudi Arabia’s Minster of Media Turki Al-Shabanah said in a Tweet on Sunday.
“Reports claiming that HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman intends on buying @ManUtd are completely false. Manchester United held a meeting with @PIFSaudi to discuss sponsorship opportunity . No deal has been materialized,” Al-Shabanah’s tweet read.
Reports claiming that HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman intends on buying @ManUtd are completely false. Manchester United held a meeting with @PIFSaudi to discuss sponsorship opportunity . No deal has been materialized.— تركي الشبانه (@TurkiAlshabanah) February 17, 2019
The rumors that emerged in UK media reported that the crown prince tabled a $4.9 billion bid for the 13-time premier league winning team. In 2005, Manchester United was bought by the Glazer family for nearly $1.38 billion.
The Kingdom already has a history of ties with the team. The club signed a memorandum of understanding with the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia last year to help develop football industry in the country. They also have a long-standing commercial partnership with Saudi Telecom Company (STC).
There are other Saudi interests in British football. Prince Abdullah bin Musaad, who was the chairman of Al-Hilal FC between 2002 and 2004, bought a 50 percent stake in Sheffield United in 2013. Musaad became the club’s co-chairman with Kevin McCabe, but in February 2018 the prince entered negotiations to take full control of the club.
Majed Garoub, a Saudi-based board member of the International Association for Sports Law, told Arab News: “Investment in the sports sector has restricted conditions and rules … These conditions become more complicated when buying a stake in a big prestigious club or even the whole of it.
“Therefore, specialists and professionals in the sports sector are aware that media discussions about Saudi Arabia buying Manchester United are not true and have murky sources for unethical aims and reasons, whether for political and/or media purposes.”