September 19 – The new Saudi owner of English Premier League club Sheffield United says he would happily do business with the family of Osama Bin Laden to bring fresh investment into the club.
Earlier this week Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud won an acrimonious and highly controversial High Court battle with lifelong United fan Kevin McCabe for overall control of the club amid reports that he once secured a £3 million loan from a relative of bin Laden to help with funding.
“I get offended when the Bin Laden family is given a bad name,” Prince Abdullah told his first news conference after taking overall of the club following a ruling ordering McCabe to sell his 50% share for £5 million.
The prince denied that he had done any past deals with the bin Laden family but added: “Every family may have one bad person, one black sheep but they are very respectable. The Bin Laden family is not a disgraced name or something that I should hide. I have not done business with them in the past but I will be very happy to do business with them.”
Prince Abdullah and McCabe began their fight after submitting competing takeover bids in 2017. McCabe is now reportedly refusing to give up his shares of the team until an October trial over the terms of the transfer takes place.
Prince Abdullah suggested that McCabe himself had been happy to deal with the bin Ladens.
“They were going to buy Kevin McCabe’s shares. They did due diligence but decided not to buy,” he said. “I don’t see it is as a big deal.”
Prince Abdullah has installed his son-in-law, Prince Musaad bin Khalid bin Musaad Al Saud, who is just 26, as the club’s new chairman. But he insisted he was genuinely interested in Sheffield United and was not planning to offload it any time soon.
“If it was about money, I would sell the club right now,” Prince Abdullah said. “My main focus is to bring in sponsors from Saudi right now.”
Local reports say Prince Abdullah has previously rarely been spotted at home games despite owning 50 percent of the newly promoted club — but he insisted he watched every match on television.
The recent court judgement came at a highly sensitive time given Saudi Arabia’s much-publicised pirating of tv rights that has been condemned globally. Asked about his credentials for running a Premier League club he replied: “I am connected in the football world, I know who are the good agents. I know the business of football. I have been in football all my life, it is my passion.”
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