FILE - Paris Saint Germain owner Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi waves to his team fans after the end of the Champions League round of 16 soccer match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Feb. 12, 2019. Photo: AP
Speaking in Istanbul ahead of the Champions League final, Al-Khelaifi distanced himself from countryman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani’s proposed takeover of the storied Premier League club.
“Paris Saint-Germain is my club, my heart and nothing to do with Man United,” he said of his Qatari-backed French club.
On Friday it was reported Al-Khelaifi, who is also the chairman of the European Club Association, had played a “significant” role in talks over Sheikh Jassim's attempt to buy out United owners, the Glazer family.
Al-Khelaifi said potential investors frequently seek his advice and that he would offer his opinion about United or any other club. He said he was approached at Formula One’s Miami Grand Prix by an investor considering bids for two unnamed English teams.
“I’m not working for anyone. I want the best for football,” he said. “When this guy asked me, I tell him my opinion. So if they ask me my opinion I will answer them for sure and that’s what they do. Anyone, not just Man United. I will give them my experience that I have. That’s it.”
UEFA has a rule designed to stop owners or businesses having “decisive influence” over more than one club which qualifies for its European competitions. The rule drafted 25 years ago aims to protect the integrity of games from owners with a conflict of interest on the filed.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim is competing with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe for ownership of United, which was estimated to reach a sale price of as much as $6 billion.
The Glazers announced in November that they were exploring “strategic alternatives" after owning the club since 2005. That included a possible full sale or minority investment.
PSG is owned by Qatar Sports Investments and has spent exorbitant amounts of money on some of soccer's biggest players like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Al-Khelaifi added that he would welcome further Qatari ownership of European teams.
“If within the regulation, why not? Everyone, not only Qatari, everyone,” he said.
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