Rant’s man in Switzerland uncovers secret talks at an advanced stage.
Manchester United’s ruling Glazer family is holding secret talks with Seppe Blatter as a precursor to the FIFA President joining the Board this summer, Rant has learned. In a controversial move, it is believed that the talks are at an advanced stage, with a formal announcement possible after the FIFA presidential elections conclude this year. Rant understands that talks were brokered by new FIFA vice president and fomer United managing director David Gill.
Although no formal agreement has yet been signed, sources close to septuagenarian have indicated the Swiss executive’s role will be wide-ranging, including oversight of United’s commercial and media departments, and political liaison. The Glazer family believes Blatter will broker relationships for the club at the highest political and commercial levels those with knowledge of the deal told Rant.
The Glazers’ approach to Blatter is unlikely to be popular with supporters or the English FA, although the family is no stranger to controversy. The American family is approaching its 10th anniversary in charge at Old Trafford after completing an aggressive leveraged buyout in May 2005. The Glazers landed the £690 million buyout cost on the club’s books, leaving a previously debt-free institution highly leveraged and spending millions per year on repayments and interest.
Blatter has been FIFA President since 1998 after beating Swede Lenham Johanssen to the post in controversial circumstances. The 79-year-old has held on to the Presidency despite controversy over media rights, a lack of commercial transparency, accusations of corruption, misogyny and racism at the Swiss-based non-profit. Under Blatter’s Presidency the 2022 World Cup was awarded to the tiny gulf state of Qatar and switched to a winter tournament.
Rant understands that talks between United and Blatter began in the New Year when it became apparent Gill was on course to be elected to the game’s governing body. If formally signed, Blatter will work a dual role with the governing body and United.
“Seppe sees this as more than another easy pay-day,” a source told Rant. “This is a shot at global media redemption at the world’s most popular club. Seppe is determined to leave a legacy in Manchester.”
United’s board is made up of six Glazer siblings – Avram, Joel, Bryan, Edward, Darcie, and Kevin – together with Group Managing Director Richard Arnold, Commercial Director, Jamieson Reigle, and independent directors Robert Leitão, Manu Sawhney and John Hooks.
In a complicated ownership structure the club is registered in the Cayman Islands, but listed on the New York stock exchange with a dual-class share issuance. The Glazers are firm in their belief that Blatter will be a good cultural and executive fit with the Board, sources told Rant.
“Seppe is intimately familiar with Grand Cayman’s secretive banking system,” the source said. “New York is also one of his favourite destinations, particularly the neighbourhood around Hell’s Kitchen. After all its no secret that Blatter is the spawn of satan’s anus, possibly even the devil himself.”