PSG's Qatari owners want to buy over Leeds

LONDON • The Qatari group that own French champions Paris Saint-Germain is bidding to buy a controlling stake in Championship football side Leeds, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Saturday.

The British daily claimed "people with direct knowledge of the negotiations" revealed that state-backed Qatar Sports Investments, who is a subsidiary of the country's sovereign wealth fund, has been in talks with Italian owner Andrea Radrizzani over buying the second-tier English team.

"Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English football and Leeds is the club of their choice," the FT reported one person close to the talks as saying. "Qatar has been looking into the prospects of entering English football for the past two years."

Like Manchester City owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group, the oil-rich Gulf state has projected its power through football and controversially won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

The group has also invested heavily in PSG, bringing a host of stars to the French capital, including the world's most expensive player Neymar, in a bid to secure the club's maiden European Cup.

According to the FT, talks had been on hold as Radrizzani waited to see how Leeds fared in their push for promotion to the Premier League under Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa.

However, they restarted after Leeds were dumped out of the play-offs by Derby this month, missing out on over £100 million (S$175 million) had they managed to regain their top-flight status.

Leeds were relegated in 2004 and have languished in the wilderness since.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2019, with the headline 'PSG's Qatari owners want to buy over Leeds'. Print Edition | Subscribe