British football club Sheffield United announced on Wednesday that it regained ownership of assets as part of the strategy of the club’s owner Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz
British football club Sheffield United announced on Wednesday that it regained ownership of assets as part of the strategy of the club’s owner Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
In a statement the club said: “Sheffield United Football Club Limited is very pleased to announce that with effect from July 1, 2020, it is the new owner of the Bramall Lane stadium, the Shirecliffe training facility, the hotel, the enterprise center and the Crookes junior academy.”
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“The reunification of the properties back into the ownership of the Club is an important step in the long-term strategy announced by H.R.H. Prince Abdullah to reclaim ownership of key assets and to improve these assets,” the club added.
The club’s statement cited Prince Abdullah as saying: “When I assumed sole ownership of the Club nine months ago, I committed myself to preserving the Club's heritage, upgrading the Club's physical assets and improving the fan experience.”
The Saudi royal added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought unexpected challenges, but we remain dedicated to our original strategy and bringing the stadium and other properties under the ownership of the Club is an important step in executing on this strategy. We now look forward to capitalizing on this important step as we establish the Blades in the Premier League. We'll have more good news soon.”
In September 2019, the club’s previous co-owner, Kevin McCabe, was ordered by a High Court to sell his 50 percent share to Prince Abdullah, after a legal battle which lasted over 20 months.
Prince Abdullah became a co-owner after buying a 50 percent stake in the English football club in 2013.
The assets Sheffield United announced repurchasing had been previously owned by McCabe.
Many of the club’s fans had misgivings about a Saudi Prince being the owner, however, the club’s announcement on Twitter, had many positive replies from self-described “fans” of the “Blades” (the nickname of the club’s players), with many thanking Prince Abdullah and others expressing their happiness that McCabe was finally out.
Twitter user Rob Dyson said: “Wonderful, thank you to the Prince and we look forward to a bright and successful future under his stewardship.”
Twitter user Allison Pearson simply said: “Fantastic news.”
Saudi Arabia invests in football
The positive reaction to Prince Abdullah’s strategy for Sheffield United bodes well for the talks involving Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) buying an 80 percent stake in UK Premier League football team Newcastle United.
Now that Sheffield United have seen firsthand what major investment in their team can do, it may pave the way for the Premier League, Newcastle United managers, and fans to see the benefits of having the backing of the PIF’s significant reserves.
In fact, Newcastle United fans have expressed support for PIF’s bid. A survey conducted by the club’s trust in April, 96.7 percent of the fans supported Saudi Arabia’s proposal.
Saudi Arabia’s bid for a majority stake in Newcastle is part of the Vision 2030 reform plan, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The plan includes steering the Kingdom’s economy away from reliance on oil and diversifying its investment portfolio, especially internationally.
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Source: News https://english.alarabiya.net/en/sports/2020/07/02/Sheffield-United-repurchases-Bramall-Lane-as-part-of-Saudi-Prince-Abdullah-s-strategy.html