Sheffield United Ltd has lost a High Court battle with an investment firm over the ownership of the club.
British businessman Kevin McCabe and his family, who control the company, fought a legal action against UTB LLC – a company controlled by Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family.
Mr Justice Fancourt ruled on Monday that the McCabe family will have to sell their 50% stake in the Premier League club to Prince Abdullah, who owns the other 50% for £5million, in line with a 2013 investment and shareholders agreement.
The judge previously heard how Mr McCabe and Prince Abdullah began working together six years ago and controlled ownership on a 50-50 basis.
Lawyers told the judge that Mr McCabe, who is in his 70s, was “a wealthy Yorkshireman”, and “lifelong” Sheffield United fan.
Prince Abdullah was a grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.
Mr McCabe was born in Sheffield, had long been associated with Sheffield United, and had invested about £100million, the judge heard.
He met Prince Abdullah in 2013, when United were in League One – the third tier of English football, after looking for new investors.
They had started working together after agreeing that Prince Abdullah would invest £10million, but “fell out” in 2017.
In a statement after the ruling on Mr McCabe’s behalf, he said he was “bitterly disappointed” and is considering an appeal.