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Sir Jim Ratcliffe causes a stir as Sheikh Jassim complains about Man Utd chief

Manchester United prospective bidder Sheikh Jassim has reportedly complained about new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe after failing to take over the club. The Qatari billionaire wanted to purchase 100 per cent of the Premier League giants, but Ratcliffe conceded majority control to the Glazers and acquired a 27.7 per cent stake, closing the door on Jassim.

After getting settled at Old Trafford, the Brit then aimed a dig at Jassim and suggested that it was “very odd” how he was an unfamiliar name and figure competing for control of one of the planet’s biggest football clubs.

“Still nobody’s ever seen him, actually,” Ratcliffe joked. “The Glazers never met him… he never… I’m not sure he exists!” The INEOS chief also appeared to agree with a journalist’s suggestion that Jassim failed to produce proof of funds and had exaggerated the size of his bid.

And now Jassim has seemingly taken offence to those comments and The Athletic claim that his legal representation has sent letters to United’s lawyers in New York and London, complaining about “a pattern of demonstrably false and defamatory” statements.

In what they describe as “Project Rugby” a demand was also made for “immediate corrective action” to the club’s SEC filings, which implied in January that Jassim had been unable to provide proof of funds, after the club’s submission stated that the Qatari repeatedly failed to produce “customary financing commitment letters”.

It was argued that the filing was “misleading” and correspondence through the Nine Two Foundation provided “definitive” proof of funds through a demand guarantee from Qatar National Bank. The demand for a correction has not yet been fulfilled by United.

It was alleged that Ratcliffe made a breach of the confidentiality agreement signed by all parties when he gave an interview in February discussing his rival bidder. However, the comment appeared to have been made in jest and Raine Group co-founder Joe Ravitch confirmed a meeting with Jassim as they attempted to broker a takeover.

“We met Jassim,” Ravitch told The Times. “He was in New York. He’s a lovely guy; a very smart guy. The Qataris were very real. They were very smart guys, very thoughtful. I don’t know why they didn’t appreciate the value (of the club) but we were not their adviser.

“We tried as the seller to explain the value to them, and they put what they thought was a series of very serious bids on the table.”

And while Jassim did remain discreet throughout the bidding process, his legal team claim that he met in person with Joel and Avram Glazer on July 26, 2023, refuting Ratcliffe’s suggestion that the son of a former Qatari prime minister did not exist.

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