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Qatar keen to buy Premier League club, sports minister says

Qatar sports minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali has told The Associated Press that the Gulf state is keen to purchase a Premier League club -- although it could potentially create a conflict with Paris Saint-Germain.

Al-Ali said the Qatari government has been approached about investment in the English top flight and added: "Some of the opportunities are really good."

The Sun reported on Wednesday that the Qatari government is lining up a takeover worth one billion pounds for Tottenham Hotspur, and Al-Ali suggested he was an admirer of the club.

Asked whether Qatar is looking to own a Premier League club, he told AP journalist Rob Harris: "Yes, of course. Personally speaking, I like the English Premier League, personally speaking. Since I was young I have jerseys. I'm not going to tell you which clubs -- I said it once and the guy was upset with me because he was an Arsenal ... I like all jerseys of Tottenham and I had two of them."

On whether he would like to be a Premier League club owner, he added: "Of course. Definitely -- 100 percent -- [but] it's very challenging. I don't know if at that time I would have the energy really to be in the spotlight, especially the English league -- you are under pressure always."

Paris Saint-Germain have enjoyed great success since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) -- part of the state-founded Qatar Investment Authority -- completed a buyout of the club in 2012 and invested millions into the squad.

Al-Ali suggested the state's aim would be to replicate that kind of success with an English club.

"Here in Qatar, we are very, very good in taking something and really transforming it into something very, very good," he said. "We take it to another step. Even if it's good, we take it to another step.

"Paris Saint-Germain for 20 years did not win the championship. With respecting the culture, we became better now understanding the concerns of the people. In any investment really. In real estate, we have now a good experience in England and we understand the concerns and their hopes. We understand that very well. We are learning.

"I don't think we are going to stop. We are just going to continue looking for good opportunities. Of course, England, the emir was there, and of course it's one of our best hubs for Qataris."

Despite Al-Ali's comments, UEFA regulations would appear to prohibit the state taking a second club into the Champions League.

The rules under Article 3, "Integrity of the competition," stipulate: "No club participating in a UEFA club competition may, either directly or indirectly, hold or deal in the securities or shares of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition; be a member of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition; be involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition; or have any power whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition."

Should the regulations be breached, only one club would be permitted to participate in either the Champions League or Europa League.


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