Leeds United maintain 'not for sale' stance as talk of Qatari investment intensifies

Leeds United have again poured cold water on reports that Andrea Radrizzani is in discussions to sell a stake in the club to the Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain.

By Phil Hay
Monday, 3rd June 2019, 9:05 pm
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani.
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani.

The New York Times claimed today that Radrizzani was meeting with the head of Qatar Sports Investments for advanced discussions about a deal to pass a shareholding in United to the state-owned fund.

QSI’s interest in buying into Leeds was first revealed last month and the group is understood to be keen to move into English football having controlled PSG for the past eight years.

Radrizzani and QSI’s chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, are long-time friends and associates and despite Leeds attempting to quell talk of an imminent offer from Qatar a week ago, fresh speculation about the intentions of QSI resurfaced this afternoon.

United have made no official comment but sources at Elland Road reiterated Radrizzani’s stance that a majority stake in the club is not for sale and denied that concrete negotiations were ongoing with any party.

Leeds, however, have received approaches from various parties in recent months and indicated that Radrizzani would be open to any proposal which he considered to be beneficial to the success of the club.

QSI has the backing of the cash-rich Gulf state and possesses wealth far in excess of Radrizzani’s. The group has spent heavily, without success, in an attempt to help PSG win the Champions League but is said to be looking at new horizons in European football, with a specific aim to invest in England.

Radrizzani, who became 100 per cent owner of Leeds after taking over from fellow Italian Massimo Cellino in 2017, relinquished a minority shareholding last summer when the San Francisco 49ers bought into Leeds for £11m.

United run at a loss in the Championship and posted a shortfall of more than £4m in their last accounts. That loss is understood to have increased significantly this season.

The EFL’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules limit the investment permitted by owners or shareholders and would complicate any attempt by a new controlling or minority party to spend heavily in the transfer window.

QSI has been approached for comment by the YEP but is yet to respond.