The checks Dozy Mmobuosi must pass to become Sheffield United's new owner

After agreeing a deal in principle to purchase Sheffield United, Dozy Mmobuosi could be required to appear before a panel of officials from the English Football League before his takeover is approved by the governing body.
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Mmuobuosi, who is hoping to replace Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as the promotion hopefuls’ owner, must also satisfy a number of other criteria relating to his personal character in order to seize control at Bramall Lane.

The EFL’s regulations also state that the Nigerian businessman, who operates in the west African state’s agri-fintech sector, must provide all relevant documentation required to pass its statutes “as far in advance of the acquisition of control as possible.” As well as Mmobuosi himself, this must also cover anyone else set to become a “relevant person” at United should his bid prove successful. Failure to comply would be construed as misconduct - “whether intentionally or otherwise.”

Dozy Mmobuosi wants to buy Sheffield United: Michael Regan/Getty ImagesDozy Mmobuosi wants to buy Sheffield United: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Dozy Mmobuosi wants to buy Sheffield United: Michael Regan/Getty Images
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After progressing his talks with Prince Abdullah over the Christmas period, Mmobuosi is clearly convinced he will not fall foul of the rules to which all EFL members must abide.

Appendix Three of the EFL’s Directors and Owners Test, states: “If any Person proposes to acquire control of a club…the club and/or the Person shall, as far in advance of the acquisition of control as reasonably possible and in any event no later than 10 normal working days prior to the date on which it is anticipated that such acquisition of Control will take place: (a) submit to the League a duly completed declaration in respect of each person who will become a relevant person upon the proposed acquisition of control; and (b) submit to the League up to date future financial information…prepared to take into account the consequences of the change of control on the club’s future financial position.”

The regulations also demand that Mmobuosi submits “to the League up to date Future Financial Information (as defined in Regulation 16) prepared to take into account the consequences of the change of control on the club’s future financial position.”

Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United: Michael Regan/Getty ImagesBramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Mmobuosi’s attempt to replace Prince Abdullah at the helm comes at a pivotal period of United’s season. Despite preparing for Saturday’s meeting with Swansea City ranked second in the table and 10 points clear of third place, manager Paul Heckingbottom last month discovered his employers were prohibited from signing any new players after failing to keep up with their repayments relating to previous transfer deals. Unless those are settled shortly, United that ban could also extend to the next two windows.

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Although the exact extent of his wealth has been the subject of intense debate in both the national and regional media, Mmobuosi is already understood to have pumped two undisclosed sums of money into United’s coffers. One of those is thought to have secured him preferred bidder status, while the other, although this has not been confirmed by either Prince Abdullah or his associates, was described by sources as a “gesture” of goodwill designed to help United try and solve their financial difficulties.

“The League shall have the power to require the club and/or the person who proposes to acquire control to appear before it and to provide evidence of the ultimate source and sufficiency of any funds which that person proposes to utilise to acquire control and/or invest in or otherwise make available to the club,” the EFL’s regulations continue.

Mmobuosi’s company Tingo Mobile provides cell phones to farmers in his homeland which, according to him, are designed to “utilise technology and digital services to impact smallholder farmers and the entire agricultural value chain in Africa.”

Sheffield United are the subject of a takeover attempt: George Wood/Getty ImagesSheffield United are the subject of a takeover attempt: George Wood/Getty Images
Sheffield United are the subject of a takeover attempt: George Wood/Getty Images

In a recent interview with GQ magazine, which was published in December, Mmobuosi also detailed his involvement in Nigerian grassroots football having previously been involved with Porsche United and Nassarawa United.

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Founded in 2001, Tingo Mobile is the highest profile name on Mmobuosi’s business portfolio. A dormant firm, Tingo Airlines (TA), is in the process of being struck-off from the Companies House register. TA was recently the subject of a report by a US based sporting website.

As well as convincing the EFL he can both fund his takeover and sustain United moving forward, Mmobuosi must also demonstrate he does not fall foul of any other rules which would prevent him from taking control of United. Disqualifying conditions include criminal convictions, involvement in any other football clubs and on-going disciplinary issues with other sporting bodies.

Folk deemed to have provided false or misleading information to either the EFL or Premier League during previous takeover attempts are also prohibited from becoming owners, together with those who “in the reasonable opinion of The League, has engaged in conduct outside the United Kingdom that would constitute an offence of the sort described in paragraph (g) of this definition if such conduct had taken place in the United Kingdom, whether or not such conduct resulted in a conviction.”

Paragraph ‘G’ refers to matters including dishonesty, corruption and hate crimes.

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Before opening negotiations with Mmobuosi, Prince Abdullah appeared set to sell United to the American Henry Mauriss; the chief executive of Clear TV. However the American’s funding proposal ultimately proved too complex to satisfy the EFL’s checks, after it emerged it revolved around a bond scheme.

Although no formal announcement was made at the time, it became obvious over time that Mauriss, who had previously attempted to purchase Newcastle, would not be unveiled as United’s new owner.

Prince Abdullah gained control of United following a High Court battle with his former business partner and long-standing director Kevin McCabe.