Earlier this week, Leeds United sealed a comeback to the Premier League after a 16-year-long wait. The Andrea Radrizzani-owned club led by the eccentric Marcelo Bielsa will play in the English top-flight in 2020.
They sealed their promotion by winning the English Championship with a 3-1 win over Derby County last Sunday. Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani has been looking for investors to help him out with the Leeds United project he undertook a couple of years ago. Enter NFL giants, the San Francisco 49ers.
49ers Enterprises, a subsidiary of the NFL franchise, has acquired more than a 10 percent stake of Leeds United. In addition to that, 49ers Enterprises President, Paraag Marathe, will join Radrizzani on the Leeds United Board.
As reported by Daily Star, the 49ers investment group has parted with a sum of £10m to buy the minority stakes. The relationship between Radrizzani and Paraag Marathe played a quintessential role in striking the deal.
“I am particularly pleased to welcome Paraag to the Leeds United board. Paraag comes with a wealth of experience. We look forward to working with him and learning from his deep understanding of a sporting giant.
“This strategic partnership enables Leeds United to align with and gain invaluable expertise from the owners of one of the biggest global sports entities.
“The 49ers are an innovative, successful organization and we are delighted to have access to such a rich source of business and sporting expertise.
“This exciting partnership builds on the foundations we have laid down at the club in the last 12 months and we can assure supporters that the funds invested will go towards improving results on the pitch,” Radrizzani said as per Yorkshire Evening Post.
49ers’ acquisition of a minority stake at Leeds is proof of the blossoming relations between the NFL and English football. Previously, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan bought the then Premier League side, Fulham.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is also the majority stakeholder at English giants, Arsenal.
Here is what 49ers Enterprises President and Vice-President of football operations, Paraag Marathe, said about their new venture.
“It is truly an honor to be invited to join the board of a football club at Leeds United. I share the vision that Andrea has for returning Leeds United to greatness.
“I believe that the knowledge and experience we bring to the table combined with the hard work being done by Andrea and his talented team will make that vision a reality,” Marathe added.