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  1. ITV Report

Kevin McCabe loses High Court battle over Sheffield United ownership

Sheffield United Ltd has lost a High Court battle with an investment firm over the ownership of the club.

Credit: Press Association

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 £5 million, 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 £100 million, 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 £10 million, 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.

Credit: Press Association

"For the McCabe family to have lost their connection with the football club in this manner and by way of this judgment is simply heart breaking.

"Kevin feels a deep sense of betrayal and is in a state of shock about the way that he has been treated by Prince Abdullah and he now deeply regrets going into business with him."

"It will not surprise readers of the judgment to learn that the McCabes do not agree with every aspect of the judge's decision.

"However they are nevertheless grateful to the judge for the time and care he has taken over the judgment and they wish to make clear that in disagreeing with some of the conclusions they mean no disrespect to the judge.

"Serious consideration is now being given, with the advisers to Sheffield United Limited, to an appeal against the judgment."

"Mr McCabe sincerely hopes that he is proved wrong in relation to his deep misgivings about the suitability of Prince Abdullah as an appropriate custodian of Sheffield United.

"In this regard, only time will tell. For the moment however the McCabe family are simply deeply grieved that matters should have come to this."

– Kevin McCabe spokesperson
Credit: Press Association

"I am delighted that this judgment brings an end to the uncertainty over Sheffield United's future.

"Our manager Chris Wilder and the team are off to a promising start and we can now focus on this vital Premier League season under stable ownership."

"As we turn a new page at Bramall Lane, my first priority is to secure our position in the top tier for many years to come.

"To help realise that ambition, I am fully committed to continued investment in both the first team and the academy and to bringing best practices and the highest standards of management to the club."

– Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud