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Manchester United to list on Singapore Stock Exchange.

It has been announced, on 16 August, 2011, that the leading English FA Premier League Football Club, Manchester United, is to raise US$1 billion in an IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the Singapore Stock Exchange in the fourth quarter of this year. The IPO will be coordinated globally by the major Swiss Bank, Credit Suisse.

ManU is reputedly worth US$1.86 and is the world's wealthiest Football Club. ManU originally was listed on the London Stock Exchange and delisted in 2005, when the US Glazer brothers took over the Club.

Originally, the Club was to have listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and the listing on the Singapore Exchange is designed to take advantage of the Club's extensive and enthusiastic fan base in the Far East - a football mad region.

Apparently, this move is also designed to expand their lucrative business and, in particular, to raise funds to acquire new players to maintain their leadership as one of the world's most successful Football Clubs, especially to fend off challenges against their prominent status from the likes of long-time rivals, Manchester City, owned by trillionnaire Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.

Of course, this development raises once again the vexed question of whether or not football clubs should be run as public companies or be owned by their fans in some kind of mutual organisation. This is particularly pertinent at a time when, largely due to the mega sums of money sloshing around in the world's favourite game, its world governing body, FIFA, is reeling from several corruption scandals.

The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF), which represents some 180,000 football fans in England and Wales, in written evidence submitted at the beginning of 2011 to the Sport, Media and Culture Select Committee of the UK Parliament, considers that football clubs are principally sporting and cultural assets, and that their prime purpose is to serve their geographical and supporter communities. As far as the FSF is concerned, all other purposes and objectives should be ancillary to those objectives. In other words, commercial profit and financial gain should not be the main goal of football clubs.

And, according to the view of UEFA, the European Governing Body of Football, with which the FSF entirely agrees, the best form of organisation for a professional football club is a mutual member-owned club!

But, one may reasonably ask, is it too late to turn the tide?
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Author:Blackshaw, Ian
Publication:The International Sports Law Journal
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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