Sheffield United Ltd has lost a High Court battle with an investment firm over the ownership of the club.
British businessman Kevin McCabe and his family, who control the company, fought a legal action against UTB LLC – a company controlled by Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family.
Mr Justice Fancourt ruled on Monday that the McCabe family will have to sell their 50 per cent stake in the Premier League club to Prince Abdullah, who owns the other 50 per cent, for £5million, in line with a 2013 investment and shareholders agreement.
The judge previously heard how Mr McCabe and Prince Abdullah began working together six years ago and controlled ownership on a 50-50 basis.
Lawyers told the judge that Mr McCabe, who is in his 70s, was “a wealthy Yorkshireman”, and “lifelong” Sheffield United fan.
Prince Abdullah was a grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.
Mr McCabe was born in Sheffield, had long been associated with Sheffield United, and had invested about £100million, the judge heard.
He met Prince Abdullah in 2013, when United were in League One, after looking for new investors.
They had started working together after agreeing that Prince Abdullah would invest £10million, but “fell out” in 2017.
In a statement after the ruling on Mr McCabe’s behalf, he said he was “bitterly disappointed” and is considering an appeal.
A club statement read: “After over 20 months of contentious litigation, the club is delighted that this judgement brings an end to the uncertainty over Sheffield United’s future ownership and allows us to focus our full attention on the season ahead.”
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