Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium
London (AFP) - The representatives of a Qatari banker reportedly visited Manchester United on Thursday as the battle to buy the Premier League club heats up.
United’s owners, the Glazer family, announced in November that they were considering selling.
Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the INEOS chemicals company, have made separate offers to buy United.
The rival bidders were invited to visit United this week and, although Sheikh Jassim did not travel to Manchester on Thursday, he sent a delegation that were given presentations at Old Trafford and held conversations at the club’s Carrington training ground.
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.
There will be another day of presentations and tours at United on Friday, with boyhood United fan Ratcliffe due to fly in from Nice where he owns the city’s Ligue 1 football club.
INEOS co-owners Andy Currie and John Reece are due to join him in Manchester, along with INEOS Sport chair Rob Nevin and chief executive Jean Claude Blanc.
Dave Brailsford, the former British Cycling chief, will also be in attendance on Friday in his role as director of sport at INEOS Sport.
Ratcliffe also owns Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport, cycling team INEOS Grenadiers and a third of Formula One outfit Mercedes.
Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe are the only interested parties to publicly announce their bids to merchant bankers Raine, but there are reported to be at least two other bids that remain private at this stage.
According to reports, all bidders will be asked to make a second offer for United in the next 10 days.