Sheffield United: What must happen before Henry Mauriss' 'takeover' is completed

As well as demonstrating he has the funds to purchase Sheffield United and then run the football club, Henry Mauriss must fulfil a number of other criteria set out by the English Football League before his proposed takeover from HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is ratified.

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 1:37 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:25 pm

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Although an EFL spokesperson confirmed the organisation does not “comment on change of control matters” when approached by The Star today, they did highlight the tests prospective new owners must pass before being welcomed into the competition.

These are designed to “protect the image and integrity” of the EFL and also the “well-being” of its members.

Mauriss, an American media tycoon previously linked with Newcastle, is understood to be in advanced talks with Prince Abdullah about taking control of United after the two men agreed a price, estimated to be in the region of £115m, for the Saudi Arabian’s shares.

Based in California and the chief executive of ClearTV, which provides tailored content for audiences inside facilities such as airports and healthcare venues, Mauriss isn’t the only potential buyer to express an interest in United. But he is confident of pushing through a deal in the not-so-distant future after negotiations between his advisors and Bramall Lane’s hierarchy intensified earlier this month.

As well as asking for proof of funding, the EFL’s ‘Owners and Directors’ test requires Mauriss to confirm he is not subject to any “disqualifying conditions” set out by the governing body. These include convictions for offences involving dishonesty, corruption or copyright breaches relating to broadcasting matters. A US citizen, Mauriss is not under the jurisdiction of the legal system in England or Wales. But the EFL regulations do state that if “in the reasonable opinion of The League, (the individuals concerned have) engaged in conduct outside of the United Kingdom that would constitute an offence” of these sorts, a sale or directorship appointment can be blocked.

Given his standing within the business world on the other side of the Atlantic, Mauriss would appear to adhere to all of these measures. Crucially, his dealings at St James’ Park would suggest his advisors will be well placed to quickly provide the EFL with the relevant documentation.

The American has made an offer to purchase Sheffield United: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Mauriss must submit details, at least “10 days prior” to the date any buy-out is expected to be completed, providing information on any relevant persons involved in the transaction and how his presence would affect United’s financial position. The EFL could then, although they are not obligated to do so, summon him to appear before them to confirm the “ultimate source and sufficiency” of his funding.

Despite striking a number of arrangements with sporting bodies regarding material for ClearTV, Mauriss does not seemingly exert influence over any other team likely to find themselves in direct competition with United.

Mauriss, who reportedly bought, converted and resold more than seven billion dollars’ worth of portfolio trades with leading banks whilst CEO of the Credit America Corporation, told Newcastle he planned to upgrade both their training ground and stadium had his takeover there gone through.

United enter tomorrow’s game against Cardiff City, one of only three remaining on their regular season schedule, occupying the Championship’s fourth and final play-off slot.

Sheffield United could be bought by American media tycoon Henry Mauriss: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
H.R.H Prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left) is poised to sell Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage