Abu Dhabi cash injection to help Real Madrid rebuild stadium

Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund is the Spanish football club's new long-term strategic partner.

ABU DHABI // Real Madrid signed a big new player yesterday – and players don’t come much bigger than the International Petroleum Investment Company.

Ipic, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund chaired by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, is the Spanish football club’s new long-term strategic partner.

Both the company and the club are sworn to secrecy on the length and value of the deal, but Ipic’s investment will fund the development of the Santiago Bernabeu, one of the world’s iconic football stadiums.

Ipic will provide “commercial means to build the world’s greatest sports venue” and in return Real will promote Abu Dhabi globally, said the Abu Dhabi company’s managing director, Khadem Al Qubaisi.

“Ipic is proud to join forces with Real Madrid, the world’s top football club and sporting brand,” he said.

The Bernabeu seats 81,000 fans and opened in 1947. Its redevelopment, which will include a hotel and a shopping centre, is expected to cost about 400 million euros, nearly Dh2 billion, and be completed by 2017.

The result will be “one of the best stadiums in the world, a unique architectural landmark for the city of Madrid and a symbol of innovation for our country”, said the Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez.

Ipic’s investment will also fund a series of Real Madrid museums, expansion of the club’s global network of football schools and the creation of content for digital-media platforms.

“As of today, Ipic will become a key partner that shares our values and will help us promote and strengthen the Real Madrid brand throughout every continent,” Mr Perez said.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Published: October 29, 2014 04:00 AM

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