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British billionaire moves to buy Man United

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A British billionaire, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has shown interest to buy Manchester United.

News of the 69-year-old’s interest follows a Bloomberg report that the Glazer family are willing to sell a minority stake in the club.

“If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer,” Ratcliffe’s spokesperson told The Times, the BBC Sport reports.

“If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership.”

United, 20-time English champions, are bottom of the Premier League after losing both their opening games of the season under new manager Erik Hag.

The woeful start has intensified criticism of the Glazers and their perceived lack of investment in the team.

This summer has seen new signings fail to materialise, including a fruitless pursuit of Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, while superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo could leave Old Trafford.

The club has struggled since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and has not won a trophy since 2017.

There have been multiple protests against the Glazers’ ownership in recent years, including one in May 2021 which caused the Red Devils’ home league match against Liverpool to be postponed.

Man United fans are planning another protest against the American family during their latest meeting with their Anfield rivals on Monday at Old Trafford.

Lancashire-born Ratcliffe, the majority shareholder of chemical group Ineos, is a boyhood fan of the club. He also owns French side Nice, Swiss club Lausanne-Sport and Ineos Grenadiers cycling team, while Ineos has a partnership with the Mercedes F1 team.

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“This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent,” the spokesperson added. “Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”

Man United Supporters’ Trust cautiously welcomed the interest from Ratcliffe but said a takeover would need the support of fans.

A MUST spokesperson told the BBC Sport: “While supporters have called for change, this of course has to be the right change.

“Any prospective new owner has to be committed to the culture, ethos and best traditions of the club. They have to be willing to invest to restore United to former glories, and that investment must be real new money spent on the playing side and the stadium.

“Finally, any new ownership structure must embed supporters, including a degree of fan share ownership, in their operating model.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, said he was joking after tweeting he was going to buy the Man United.

Billionaire Musk, 51, is reported to have a net worth of $270bn (£223bn) according to Forbes, while Ratcliffe is worth an estimated $16.3bn (£13.5bn).

In May, Ratcliffe made an unsuccessful £4.25bn offer to buy Chelsea after owner Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale.

At the time, Ratcliffe told BBC Sport he was still a Man United fan and the reason he was not bidding for the Red Devils is because they were not for sale.

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Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium: We’ll beat Governor’s deadline – Ekweremadu Jnr.

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• Enugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Barr. Lloyd Ekweremadu Jnr

…Says school sports to return

Enugu State Government is determined to see the state-owned football club, Rangers International, return to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium for its home matches before the end of November, Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Barr. Lloyd Ekweremadu has reassured.

The commissioner gave the assurances while briefing Government House correspondents at the of the State Executive Council meeting, at the weekend.

He said that although the governor’s November deadline was tight, the Ministry was determined to ensure that the Flying Antelopes returned to the stadium, popularly known as The Cathedral, before November.

“The Executive Council was briefed on the issue of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium and the expected return of our darling Rangers to play at our Cathedral and to generally bring the stadium back to effective use. We deliberated on the targets and steps being taken to meet set targets of the government.

“We are making progress. The turf, which is to be laid on the plain surface, is in Nigeria now. It has passed the very critical stage, which is Customs clearance, but there are a few other steps at the moment.

“Deadlines have been set and those deadlines are quite short and ambitious. But we are very optimistic and we know in fact that we will meet those targets and our goals. So, we are taking very proactive steps to ensure that we beat the target.

“The governor said in his 100 days in office speech that the stadium would be ready for use by November. But we are working round the clock to see that we even beat that time and deliver the stadium back to use in record time. And the Executive Council has resolved to put certain measures in place, which will ensure that we meet such targets.”

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He added that creative and innovative steps were being taken, particularly with regards to sponsorship, to bring Rangers to the winning ways of old.

Speaking further, Ekweremadu Jr said measures were being put in place to revive school sports in the state.

He said: “Steps are being taken through collaborations amongst various ministries towards actualising His Excellency’s vision to bring back and revitalize school sports. Our plans include bringing inter-school sports back, to serve as an opportunity for talent discovery, to engage the youth positively and actively as well as keep them away from social vices, crime and the like”, he stated.

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National team footballer killed by gunmen

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A player for Panama’s national football team has been shot dead in the city of Colón.

Gunmen opened fire on a group of people, among them 26-year-old Gilberto Hernández, who had gathered in a building in the city.

Hernández died and seven others were injured in the attack.

It is not yet clear if the footballer, who also played for Club Atlético Independiente, was the target of the shooting or what the motive was.

There has been a rise in murders in Colón over the past months as two rival gangs fight for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes.

So far, more than 50 people have been killed in Colón, a city of 40,000 inhabitants, so far this year.

The port city, on the north entrance to the Panama canal, is a transit point for cocaine smuggled from South America through Panama to Europe.

The shooting happened on Sunday afternoon local time.

Two gunmen forced a taxi driver to take them to a building in the city’s Barrio Norte neighbourhood and opened fire on the group gathered there.

The gunmen fled the scene, but a suspect has since been arrested in a flat nearby.

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Tragedy as thunder strike kills referee during friendly match in Suleja

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Tragedy struck on Tuesday after a Nigerian referee identified as Mustafa Coach 02, was killed by a lightening strike on a football pitch in Madalla Town, Suleja LGA of Niger State

Late Mustafa died during a friendly football match which was disrupted by heavy rainfall followed by thunder strikes.

The deceased, who was said to be a member of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), met his tragic death on Tuesday evening during the match played on the community’s school field in Madalla Town.

An eyewitness, Muhammed Musa, told Daily Trust that the match in which Suleja and Madalla youths participated, was on half time break around 5:20 pm when the incident happened.

“It was raining and all the footballers along with their fans were taken refuge inside the school’s classrooms. The referee along with his assistant (line man) rushed back to the field, demanding the players to join them.

“They were only at the centre of the pitch when the thunder struck. Two of them were rushed to a hospital, where Sulaiman was confirmed dead on arrival while his assistant was revived.”

A family member of the deceased, who simply gave his name as Ibrahim, said the the late Mustafa was buried Wednesday morning in Suleja town where he lived.

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