Leeds United ‘keep door open’ for Qatari investment
Paris Saint Germain’s Qatari owners have been courting talks with Leeds over past few years as club gears up for Premier League promotion
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani revealed he will keep “the door open” for potential Qatari investment before the club’s return to England’s Premier League.
Qatari Sports Investment (QSI), which owns Paris Saint-Germain, has been in talks to buy the Yorkshire club, valued at more than £90 million (Dh427.1m) by its owners, over the past few years.
Qatar has showered the club recently with lavishly funded engagement programmes linked to the 2022 World Cup.
French media have reported that the club has also been in discussions over a lucrative £28m sponsorship shirt deal with Qatar Airways.
If the significant investment happens, only Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham would earn more from their primary shirt sponsor than the newly promoted club.
Leeds secured promotion last week and on Sunday defeated rival Derby 3-1, the team that were responsible for destroying their hopes of a return to the Premier League a year ago, sealing their place at the top of the Championship.
On Monday, Mr Radrizzani set out his plans for the club going forward and said he has not yet made a deal with QSI but added that his “door is open”.
“We need support to build the club bigger than we could with our own resources,” he said.
He reiterated his immediate plan is to stabilise the club for the next three years and to remain in the top flight, and immediate investment will come from his own company.
“The club is my priority. I want to be the leader and custodian,” he added.
Leeds is currently facing a loss in revenue of up to £40m because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past two years, two Qatar agencies have established partnerships with the side through their Fifa-backed 2022 legacy programmes.
Qatar’s Aspire Academy, which aims to develop and nurture players before the 2022 World Cup, announced in 2018 that it was linking up with Leeds.
Aspire played a large role in Qatar’s campaign to land the World Cup.
Last April, Leeds announced it was also forming a partnership with a second Qatari academy, Generation Amazing.
The general director of Aspire Academy in Qatar is Ivan Bravo, who was a director at Leeds United for more than two and a half years until he stepped down last October to “concentrate” on the World Cup.
Mr Bravo is also the technical director of the Qatar Football Association. PSG is also affiliated with the Aspire Academy.
Qatar does not own a British club but its investment arm QSI bought the leading French side PSG in 2011 and Belgium team KAS Eupen.
QSI has spent more than £800m on players for PSG, including £336m on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Mr Radrizzani has reportedly had many meetings with PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi to discuss the club.
Updated: July 20, 2020 07:45 PM