Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield United bosses in High Court battle for club control

Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Abdulaziz Al Saud and co-owner Kevin McCabe watch Sheffield United play Rotherham in September 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kevin McCabe (left) and Prince Abdullah, pictured in September 2013

The co-owners of newly-promoted Sheffield United have clashed in a High Court battle for control of the Premier League football club.

Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud each own 50% of the Blades.

The dispute is based on the terms of a buyout provision in the initial investment agreement made between the men in 2013.

The case is expected to last for several weeks.

Mr Justice Fancourt heard Mr McCabe and Prince Abdullah met in 2013 when Mr McCabe was looking for fresh investment in the club.

Sheffield-born Mr McCabe, 71, has invested £100m in the club over many years, according to his barrister.

Prince Abdullah invested £10m in 2013, but the two men "fell out" in 2017.

Sheffield United Ltd, a company controlled by Mr McCabe and his family, has alleged "conspiracy" and "unfairly prejudicial conduct", and wants damages.

UTB LLC, a company controlled by Prince Abdullah, wants declarations in respect of its rights under an investment and shareholders' agreement.

Image copyright Danny Lawson/PA
Image caption Sheffield United recently celebrated promotion to the Premier League

Mr McCabe's company barrister, Paul Downes QC, said the case was "complex".

"The dispute is about which of the two co-owners of the club can take control and on what terms," he said.

Mr Downes said Mr McCabe believed the buyout scheme was designed to "cheat him" and that the prince's company was trying to take full control of the club for £5m.

"If that is the result, it would be a travesty," he said.

Prince Abdullah disputes the allegations made against him and says Sheffield United Ltd's case should be dismissed.

His company barrister, Andreas Gledhill QC, said a number of allegations "of serious impropriety" had been made against the prince's company, including an allegation that Prince Abdullah "accepted a bribe".

He said the allegations were "entirely false".

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