The owners of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers have taken control of English soccer club Leeds United.
Leeds United announced on Monday that the English Football League had agreed to sell the club to 49ers Enterprises, allowing for an “immediate transfer of ownership”. Leeds were relegated from the Premier League to the second-tier Championship for the next season.
“This is an important moment for Leeds United and we are already working hard,” said Paraag Marathe, who will take over as chairman of the club. “This transition is a necessary reset to set a new course for the club.”
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Marathe succeeds Andrea Radrizzani as majority owner of Leeds. Angus Kinnear, Leeds CEO, remains in the role.
Marathe and 49ers CEO Jed York lead 49ers Enterprises. The ownership group first invested in Leeds in 2018, increasing its stake to 44% at the end of 2021. Then, last month, she agreed to take over Leeds, adding NBA players Larry Nance Jr. and TJ McConnell as minority partners.
Golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas will also be minority partners, Spieth said last week, and on Friday NBA star Russell Westbrook also bought a stake in the group.
Leeds have appointed former Norwich City manager Daniel Farke as their new manager two weeks ago on a four-year deal to replace Sam Allardyce, who left the club by mutual consent after relegation.
Farke led Norwich to the Premier League in his second season before they were relegated back to the second division in 2019/20. They won the league and secured an immediate return to the top flight in 2020/21.
“It has been an honor to lead Leeds United for the last six years and to spend so much time with the best fan base in the world,” said Radrizzani.
“49ers Enterprises have been fantastic partners for years and I am confident they will take Leeds to the next level.”
The statement didn’t say whether the Italian businessman, who is also the chairman and founder of sports broadcasting group Eleven Sports, remains linked with the club.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters.