San Francisco 49ers touch down with full ownership of Leeds

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June 12 – In the latest American involvement in English football, the San Francisco 49ers ownership group has reached an agreement to take over Leeds United with the club’s chairman Andrea Radrizzani selling his stake in the club.

The investment arm of the San Francisco 49ers American football team had already purchased a 15% stake in Leeds in 2018 and increased that to 44% in 2021.

A club statement read: “Leeds United can confirm an agreement has been reached between Aser Ventures and 49ers Enterprises for the purchase of the club. Both parties continue to work through the details, and further updates will be provided soon. All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League.”

Leeds didn’t specify the sale price for the remaining 56% but British media reported it to be £170 million.

Radrizzani bought Leeds for £45 million in 2017 but after their relegation from the Premier League on the final day of the just completed season, the Leeds United Supporters Club released a statement saying Radrizzani was “no longer an appropriate person” to run the club.

“His behaviour is appalling and he risks never being welcome at our club again,” it added. “The sooner he goes the better and we look forward to the 49ers Enterprises offer being accepted. The only way he can begin to salvage his reputation is through an immediate sale of the club and the stadium.”

Radrizzani was popular with Leeds fans initially, with manager Marcelo Bielsa taking them back into the Premier League. But the relationship soured after he sacked the Argentine.

He did not attend their final game, a defeat by Tottenham which sealed their relegation and left them managerless after interim boss Sam Allardyce left having completed his brief tenure. Instead he was in Italy negotiating putting the final touches on a deal to buy Sampdoria, relegated from Serie A this season.

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