Sheffield United: Appeal set to be confirmed against ownership ruling

Kevin McCabe is expected to confirm he intends to appeal a High Court decision to hand control of Sheffield United to his former business partner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Sunday, 3rd November 2019, 10:39 pm
Kevin McCabe still owns Bramall Lane: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Kevin McCabe still owns Bramall Lane: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Scaborough based property developer, who until last month was the longest serving member of the Premier League club's board, are scheduled to begin the process of attempting to overturn Mr Justice Fancourt's ruling later tomorrow after spending nearly two months analysing September's judgement.

Although it remains unclear if McCabe is contesting all or part of the verdict, which saw the Saudi Arabian seize power following a lengthy legal battle, the 71-year-old believes he has an arguable case following discussions with his representatives. That is expected to see them sumbit an application to press ahead with their claim before the 4pm deadline Mr Justice Fancourt laid down after initially refusing McCabe permission to pursue his bid to wrestle back power.

Despite being officially unveiled as United's new owner two months ago, Prince Abdullah must still reach an agreement with McCabe about the purchase of assets including the Steelphalt Academy and Bramall Lane itself after both sites remained in the latter's control. The transfer of those holdings, and a "corporate manoeuvre" McCabe later argued was designed to negate a requirement for Prince Abdullah to buy them before becoming sole-owner, accelerated a disagreement initially sparked when they both launched rival takeover bids.

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Kevin McCabe & HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Prince Abdullah, who has appointed his son-in-law Prince Musaad Bin Khalid Bin Musaad Bin Abdulrahman Al Saud as United's new chairman, first arrived in South Yorkshire in 2013 when McCabe handed him 50 per cent of the team's parent company Blades Leisure Limited (BLL) in return for various financial guarantees.

However, when their relationship became strained, McCabe offered £5m to re-acquire Prince Abdullah's holding in BLL, which in turn led to a counterbid by an investment vehicle entitled UTB controlled by the 54-year-old and his associates. However, it emerged some of its shares had been placed in a new firm entitled UTB 2018 which, Prince Abdullah argued, meant he did not have to immediately strike a deal with McCabe for United's ground and training complex. Prince Abdullah has since stated he intends to broker one before next summer, complying with the terms Mr Justice Fancourt laid down when he found in favour.

Speaking at the time McCabe, who invested around £100m in United during his tenure, described himself as being "bitterly disappointed" by the outcome.

Kevin McCabe at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud © BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY