BLADES IN COURT: Prince Abdullah not a ‘suitable person’ to own Sheffield United, says McCabe

Blades co-owner Kevin McCabe has said Prince Abdullah is not a ‘suitable person’ to own 100 per cent of Sheffield United Football Club.

Thursday, 16th May 2019, 6:46 pm
Updated Monday, 20th May 2019, 11:17 am

Mr McCabe made the statement on day four of a trial at the High Court in London which will rule on the long-running ownership battle between the two men.

The court heard that the relationship between the pair deteriorated throughout 2017, with arguments over the role of former and current CEO Stephen Bettis.

Andreas Gledhill QC told the court Mr McCabe tried on three occasions to get Mr Bettis out, finally succeeding after he stopped his pay without telling him.

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United co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah.

“You behaved in an underhand, dishonourable and thoroughly dishonest way,” said Mr Gledhill.

“The reason you were not truthful about (new chief operating officer) Andy Birks being a long standing McCabe family contact was that he was part of your strategy to get Stephen Bettis out.”

Mr McCabe denied knowing Mr Birks beforehand but acknowledged the pay issue could have been handled better.

“Stephen Bettis leaving the role of CEO was just common sense,” said Mr McCabe.

“It was impossible for him to do the job for any length of time from Los Angeles.

“It had been agreed that he woukd leave as CEO but I have apologised to Stephen Bettis for the way it happened.”

Further disagreements over the role of Andy Birks and new technical board member Jan Van Winckel followed, before a further argument over a proposed benchmarking exercise by accountants Deloitte took place.

Mr Gledhill suggested McCabe was looking to ‘inflame relations’ between himself and Prince Abdullah to such a point that the Prince would have no option but to buy him out.

“The real reason you didn’t want anyone poking around in the club at that time is was that you were trying to sell the club to ALK Capital,” said Mr Gledhill.

“You stand to make a very healthy profit of between £80m and £140m if the Judge rules in your favour don’t you?”

“I have not considered that at all,” said Mr McCabe.

Earlier, Mr McCabe’s was asked about his allegation that a £3m loan from Saudi Arabian investors procured by Price Abdullah had in fact been a bribe.

Mr Gledhill suggested Mr McCabe knew the money couldn’t be a bribe as it had come from the wealthy Saudi Arabian Bin Laden family, adding he had invented the allegation after the pending court case made it convenient to paint Prince Abdullah in a negative light.

“I don’t know whether the money was a bribe or not because I didn’t know where the money had come from,” said Mr McCabe.

The case continues.