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Manchester United football team denies rumors of Saudi takeover

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Manchester United's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez (R) celebrates with Manchester United's Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini after scoring the team's third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 6, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Manchester United, the UK’s highly-acclaimed football club, has dismissed rumors of a possible takeover by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, as a scandal surrounding the prince gets worse.

Reports had emerged on Monday that the super-rich crown prince of Saudi Arabia was in a prospective takeover of the football club.

However, sources close to the club's American owners to responded to the rumors, saying the co-chairmen of the club, brothers Avram and Joel Glazer, had no interest in discussing any buy-out of Manchester United.

The news came as a diplomatic crisis engulfs the Saudis, after American-based journalist and critic of the regime Jamal Khashoggi disappeared amid allegations he had been murdered under direct orders  from the Saudi prince.

Riyadh rulers in crisis

Khashoggi’s disappearance and suspected murder by operatives working for bin Salman have prompted chiefs of international companies to cancel a major upcoming investment conference slated to be held in Riyadh on October 23.

The so-called Future Investment Initiative Summit, which focuses on bin Salman’s ambitious economic plans and depends heavily on foreign investments, was canceled by a number of businesses and media groups who have boycotted the event dubbed as the Saudi "Davos in the Desert."

Google, Uber, JPMorgan Chase, Ford and MasterCard have already announced they will not be attending. The New York Times, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN and CNBC have also withdrawn as the event's media sponsors.

The pullout has dealt a heavy blow to bin Salman as international pressure mounts on the kingdom to account for the journalist’s fate.

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