IN THE MONEY: The authenticity of a photo appearing to show Sheikh Jassim in a Man United shirt is questioned, while the cost of Craven Cottage’s revamp soars to £200m
- The photo of Sheikh Jassim has been described as ‘not an official picture’
- The cost of Fulham’s new stand was originally £80m but has soared to £200m
- Yorkshire face a £500,000 loss of income after Nike ended lucrative kit deal
The only photograph of Manchester United bidder Sheikh Jassim that appears to show him to be a fan of the club has been described as ‘not an official picture’, while a spokesman for his bid was ‘not able to confirm its authenticity’.
The snap, apparently of the Sheikh in a 2022-23 United shirt, was first placed into the public domain on February 18, on Twitter, by a Qatari businessman and journalist, Mohammed Saeed Alkaabi.
Alkaabi has more than 550,000 followers on his verified account, and his Twitter and Instagram accounts contain many photographs with him and top footballers, not least Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe — giving the impression he is close to PSG’s Qatari owners.
While it remains a mystery when and where the photo of Sheikh Jassim was taken, or whether it is genuine, what is definitely true is that his emissaries have started ‘a deep dive’ into United’s financial records and business before confirming their bid price.
‘This is really where the process starts,’ says one source. ‘It’s probably most accurate to say it’s advisors to Sheikh Jassim’s advisors who are involved, attending management presentations [at Old Trafford and in London] and having more detailed conversations.’
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani announced his intention to acquire Man United last month
A photo of the Qatari wearing a United shirt has been described as ‘not an official picture’
Over several days lasting into next week, these advisors will be scrutinising United’s books, their tax arrangements, their property portfolio, sponsors’ contracts, playing budgets, ‘and everything else needed to get a clear idea of what a final offer should look like.’
Craven Cottage upgrade soars to £200m
At least one American billionaire owner of a Premier League club is willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to sprucing up his stadium.
The original cost for Fulham owner Shahid Khan to upgrade Craven Cottage’s Riverside Stand was £80million, but that has now soared to £200m — and Khan is happy to pay top-dollar for a raft of high-end adjustments.
The capacity increase will be only around 3,000 seats, but the revamped stand includes a boutique hotel, health club and spa, outdoor swimming pool, Michelin star restaurants and members’ club.
Khan also purchased a nine-metre slice of the Thames to enable a walkway around the stand. Work should be finished in time for the 2023-24 season.
The original cost for Fulham owner Shahid Khan to upgrade Craven Cottage’s Riverside Stand was £80million, but that has now soared to £200m
But the club’s owner Shahid Khan is happy to pay top-dollar for a raft of high-end adjustments
Yorkshire face £500,000 loss
Yorkshire County Cricket Club face a £500,000 loss of income after Nike ended their lucrative kit deal as a result of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal. Yorkshire are in a legal scrap with the American sportswear giants after Nike ended the four-year deal after just six months.
The contract, worth £800,000, was one of the largest of its kind in county cricket. Yorkshire replaced it with a three-year agreement with Kukri worth £300,000. But the county, reportedly at risk of going into administration, are expected to lose a combined £3m as a result of the racism investigation.