May 24, 2018 / 9:05 AM / 9 months ago

Soccer-San Francisco 49ers Enterprises buy stake in Leeds

LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - Three-times English champions Leeds United on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with the San Francisco 49ers.

49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of the NFL franchise, have bought a minority stake in the club, which local media reported as more than 10 percent.

The deal sees Paraag Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises and executive vice-president of Football Operations, take a seat on the Leeds United board.

“It is truly an honour to be invited to join the board of a football club as storied as Leeds United,” Marathe told the Leeds United website.

“I share the vision that (club owner) Andrea (Radrizzani) has for returning Leeds United to greatness.”

Leeds are currently in the second-tier Championship, having been relegated from the Premier League in 2004 before spiralling into financial trouble and administration three years later.

Italian businessman Radrizzani bought the club a year ago.

“This strategic partnership enables Leeds United to align with and gain invaluable expertise from the owners of one of the biggest global sports entities,” Radrizzani said.

“The 49ers are an innovative, successful organisation and we are delighted to have access to such a rich source of business and sporting expertise.”

Radrizzani said the funds investment by 49ers Enterprises will be put towards strengthening the squad. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by John O’Brien)

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