US tycoon Malcolm Glazer has been given a deadline for submitting a bid to buy Manchester United.
The UK’s Takeover Panel said Glazer must make known by midday on Tuesday, 17 May whether he plans to launch a bid or not.
Glazer, the owner of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers NFL team, has been in talks with Manchester United over a potential £800m bid for the club.
If he chooses not to bid, he will be prevented from approaching the company for another six months.
The Takeover Panel said it had asked the Panel Executive for a ruling because it believed that the “ongoing uncertainty” surrounding the potential bid was disruptive to the company.
“The board has informed Glazer that it cannot provide a recommendation to shareholders to accept any offer made on the basis of the current proposal,” Manchester United said in a statement.
Shares in the club were trading down 7.25 pence, or 2.6%, at 267.75p on Thursday afternoon.
According to reports, Glazer is atempting to persuade Manchester United’s two largest shareholders to back his takeover bid. JP McManus and John Magnier own a 28.9% stake and according to reports, Glazer was planning to discuss a sale this week.
United’s fans, meanwhile, will continue their opposition to the takeover plans, arguing that the level of debt the bid wil bring to the club, will be detrimental for years to come.