"The person that bids the most money is going to get the club."
In the past six months, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has become a much-talked-about figure.
This is because he is leading a consortium to acquire Manchester United, battling against British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
It has been a long-running battle, with fans getting frustrated, especially as the 2023/24 Premier League season approaches.
While there is still no preferred bidder, there have been a number of factors that have indicated that Sheikh Jassim’s bid have been accepted.
Speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said:
“Man United takeover is imminent.
“We’re hearing the Qatari bid is the one that’s taking over, it’s the one that is going to be accepted and it’s the one that is going to go through. Hallelujah, man! We can’t wait, please let this happen, please let it be true man.
“Look how long it’s gone on for, the Glazers have dug their heels in and they’re going obviously it seems like the biggest bidder. The person that bids the most money is going to get the club.
“We’re hearing that it’s close, we’re hearing it’s within a matter of days that it’s going to happen, it’s not hours.”
And according to Reuters, the club was negotiating granting exclusivity to Sheikh Jassim’s consortium.
But despite being in the headlines, not much is known about Sheikh Jassim.
We explore some of the things you didn’t know about the Qatari national.
Despite making five bids for Manchester United, Sheikh Jassim’s net worth is not actually known.
His father is reportedly worth around £892 million while the Qatari royal family is believed to be worth £275 billion.
In comparison, Chelsea’s owner Todd Boehly is worth around £4.2 billion while Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke is worth £10.23 billion.
Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is worth £24 billion and Newcastle is owned by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which is worth over £400 billion.
Despite Sheikh Jassim’s seemingly modest finances compared to other Premier League owners, his multibillion-pound bid highlights that he has the financial means to invest in Manchester United should he successfully acquire it.
Son of Qatar’s Ex-Prime Minister
Sheikh Jassim is the son of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who was the fourth Prime Minister of Qatar, serving between 2007 and 2013.
Known as HBJ, his father is an enigmatic member of the Qatari royal family and is recognised as the 20th richest Arab in the world, with a net worth of just under £1 billion.
While this is lower than most Premier League owners’ net worth, Sheikh Jassim’s family is believed to have a combined wealth of £275 billion.
HBJ is one of the most well-known members of the Qatari royal family, having also served as Foreign Minister between 1992 and 2013.
Sheikh Jassim is one of 15 children from Sheikh Hamad’s two marriages, which have produced seven sons and eight daughters.
Named after his Great-Grandfather
The names of Sheikh Jassim’s family are similar but he was named after his great-grandfather.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani’s father was Sheikh Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.
Through his father, he is the grandson of Jaber bin Mohammed Al Thani. Jaber was a younger brother of Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the founding father of modern Qatar.
Studied at Sandhurst’s Royal Military Academy
Sheikh Jassim may have been born in Qatar, but many of his formative years were spent in the UK.
He went to school in Dorset before attending the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and graduating as an officer cadet.
Afterwards, he sat on the Credit Suisse investment bank board until 2005.
He then became the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank, one of the biggest banks in the country.
He remains in that position today and has seen it grow to become the third most valuable company in Qatar.
Chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank
Sheikh Jassim is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), which was founded in 1982 and is located in Doha.
The bank is regarded as one of the most affluent in the world, and it is mainly backed by the Qatar Investment Authority, which owns the largest shares in the publicly traded bank.
In 2019, the bank was named the largest Islamic bank in Qatar.
It has also received credit ratings of A- from American credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.
Sheikh Jassim’s involvement with QIB started in 2005 when he was named chairman at just 23 years of age.
Lifelong Manchester United Fan
Most likely due to his upbringing, Sheikh Jassim is said to be a lifelong Manchester United supporter.
He is rumoured to have attended several matches at Old Trafford.
It is also said that he regularly turns up to five-a-side matches in a Manchester United kit.
The Sheikh has placed five bids to buy 100% of the club, with his most recent bid said to be north of £5 billion.
He and the rest of the Qatari consortium he’s heading up intend to clear the club’s debts and invest heavily in the training ground and stadium.
Given the rumours that his bid has been successful, it is possible that he could own the team he supports.
His Bid has a Manchester United Connection
Sheikh Jassim’s fascination with Manchester United is also highlighted in the name of his foundation, which is spearheading the bid to buy the club.
The organisation is called the Nine Two Foundation and little is known about it other than its supposed connection to an iconic era in Manchester United’s history.
It is believed that the foundation’s name is a nod to the class of ’92 which featured club legends David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes who played under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Nine Two Foundation was recently approved as a UK company through Companies House, adding fuel to the fire that Sheikh Jassim will become the club’s new owner.
Went Against his Father’s Advice
Despite remaining a private person, Sheikh Jassim has actively pursued Manchester United and reportedly went against his father’s advice to launch a bid.
On the The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations, Sheikh Hamad pointed out that he was not in support of his son’s decision to bid for Manchester United.
“I am not a football fan. I don’t like this investment. Maybe it will work well.”
“But you know, some of my sons like this, they always discuss it with me. They’re pushing hard. This isn’t my speciality.
“Let me put it like this: I am an investor. If it will one day be a good investment, I will think about it. I will not look at it as something you do just as an advertisement.”
These are some of the things you didn’t know about Sheikh Jassim.
As Manchester United’s takeover talks continue, the Sheikh hopes that his bid is accepted in order to help restore the club back to its former glory.