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Saturday, March 13, 1999 Published at 12:04 GMT

Supporters reject takeover rumours

Manchester United: Arguably the most influential club in the world

Newspaper reports suggesting that BSkyB have been given the all-clear to buy Manchester United, have been dismissed by the club's supporters' groups as "idle speculation".

The decision to sanction the £623m bid is said to have been delivered by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers on Friday.

[ image: Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB are rumoured to have sewn up the deal]
Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB are rumoured to have sewn up the deal
According to The Mirror newspaper, the commission reported that there was insufficient evidence to block the deal as being anti-competitive.

But the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association say they are still confident of defeating the takeover.

IMUSA spokesman Andy Walsh said: "This is idle speculation and it is going to grow until Stephen Byers makes his announcement, which we are pressing him to do."

IMUSA remain confident of victory because they are secure in their belief that BSkyB's bid will be seen to be flawed.

Walsh said: "This whole issue is not about football, it's about BSkyB's dominance of European and world broadcasting.

"We went to the Office of Fair Trading to make more time for us six months ago.

"In that time nobody but BSkyB and the Manchester United directors have come out in favour, which points to the fact that it is bad for football and broadcasting.

"Football is far too important to have its future decided on the whim of a director."

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