Sports | May 29, 2019 11:03 am

A Gulf-States Power Struggle Is Taking Over English Soccer

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are buying teams left and right

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring. (Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty)
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring. (Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty)
CameraSport via Getty Images

According to The Conversation, an ongoing feud between Gulf states such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi could be spilling over onto British soccer pitches.

Over the weekend, rumors began circulating Qatar Sports Investments — which already owns French club Paris Saint-Germain — is interested in buying shares in Yorkshire-based club Leeds United, who play in the EFL Championship, the country’s second division. That news means Leeds may soon become part of deep-rooted conflicts between entities like Qatar Sports Investments, Saudi Arabia (which is said to be looking into the purchase of Manchester United) and Abu Dhabi (which owns Manchester City and is considering buying into Newcastle United).

Should Qatar go through with the buy, a territory war between the Gulf states would spill over into Lancashire, Yorkshire and other parts of Britain.

“In buying Leeds United, their rival, Qatar, would be shoring up its own defenses in neighboring Yorkshire, meaning that the Gulf region’s proxy war could spill over into English football,” according to The Conversation’s Simon Chadwick. “Thus, as fans on both sides of a historic English divide anticipate the prospect of their clubs’ battle for supremacy, they should remain mindful that Elland Road and the Etihad Stadium could become modern-day proxy battlefields in a new stand-off between the houses of York and Lancaster.”

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