Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah 'strikes deal' to sell crisis club while sister side goes up for sale
Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah has reportedly agreed a deal to sell one of the Blades' sister clubs while another is "100 per cent" up for sale
Prince Abdullah, the owner of Sheffield United, has struck a deal to sell his shares in one of the Blades' sister clubs, according to French media, while another is now "100 per cent" up for sale. The Blades owner heads up the United World portfolio of clubs, also including outfits in France, Belgium and Dubai.
The Saudi prince has made no secret of his desire to sell the Blades in the past, having seen previous takeover bids by American Henry Mauriss and Nigerian Dozy Mmobuosi come to nothing, but remains in charge at Bramall Lane. There have been recent bits of interest but CEO Stephen Bettis confirmed earlier this season that nothing was close in terms of a change of ownership.
Last season the Blades were promoted to the Premier League, amongst the backdrop of financial instability that saw a transfer embargo put in place, suppliers going months without payment and national newspaper reports that forced Bettis to deny the Blades were on the brink of administration.
And the issues weren't limited to one of the Prince's clubs, with United's French sister side Châteauroux demoted earlier this league by French's financial police. The club appealed the decision to place Châteauroux in the amateur National 2 league, which would have seen the club lose its famed academy and also its professional status, and remained in Championnat National - although they have won just two games so far this season and are in the relegation zone.
Now, according to L'Équipe, the Prince has agreed the sale of Châteauroux to French businessman Benjamin Gufflet's Stratton Oakmont Sports holding company. Gufflet, who also owns a French second-tier rugby club. Before any deal is completed Gufflet has to assure the Ligue de Football Professionnel [LFP] about his financial plans for the club.
According to La Nouvelle République, Châteauroux are facing another meeting with the DNCG next Tuesday, November 21, to discuss their finances, with a sizeable sum required to keep the club operating. The report added: "The Saudis, who arrived in Châteauroux with great ambitions, left without having achieved their objectives, the club having been closer to a sporting and financial bankruptcy rather than a return to Ligue 2."
Meanwhile another United World club, Beerschot, are now "100 per cent for sale" after minority shareholders Francis Vrancken and Philippe Verellen joined Prince Abdullah in looking to sell their stake in the Belgian side. Discussions are understood to be ongoing with investors from Britain and America, with the United owner potentially close to divesting his interests in European football clubs even further.