Asian millionaire owners of European football clubs
Football, or soccer as it is known in some parts of the world, is a global sport loved by all, be it the young or old, male or female. Almost every individual has his or her own favourite in the European football league.
For the average fan, the love for the sport is showcased via wearing the jerseys corresponding to a favourite club, or visiting the stadiums if one ever gets a chance to step on European soil.
However, for the rich and powerful in Asia, they have their own way of showcasing their love – by owning their favourite football club! This is done not only out of personal interest but also for financial gain.
Therefore, we list down here these Asian millionaires (and billionaires), including ones hailing from Malaysia, who own football clubs in Europe.
Queens Park Rangers F.C. – Tony Fernandes (Malaysia)
The owner of low-cost carrier AirAsia, Malaysia’s very own Tony Fernandes, is a big fan of the English Premier League. Before owning Queens Park Rangers (QPR), he was said to have wanted to buy the West Ham United F.C. However, in 2011, the entrepreneur decided to buy QPR with the price of £35 million (approximately RM150 million), amounting to 66 percent of the club’s share. The remaining share is owned by Indian millionaire Lakshmi Mittal and his son-in-law. According to Tony, he purchased QPR as a platform to promote his low-budget airline.
Cardiff City F.C. & FK Sarajevo FC – Vincent Tan (Malaysia)
Entrepreneur Tan Sri Vincent Tan, the chairman and chief executive of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, becomes the owner of Cardiff City F.C. in 2010. His investment showed positive results when in April 2013, Cardiff City F.C. joined the English Premier League. Two is better than one – in December 2013, the billionaire grew his empire when he signed a deal to take over Bosnian football club, FK Sarajevo, whose net worth is estimated to be around RM6.6 million.
In 2013, Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir bought 70 percent of Inter Milan F.C.’s share, valued at approximately £25 million (RM103 million). Other than Inter Milan, Thohir also owns American football club D.C. United, and Indonesian football club Persib Bandung. The media mogul became the first Asian to own an NBA team, when he acquired American professional basketball franchise Philadelphia 76ers back in 2011. He later sold his stake after his Inter Milan acquisition.
Valencia CF & Salford City F.C. – Peter Lim (Singapore)
Real estate tycoon Peter Lim is the only Singaporean to ever own a European football club, taking over Spanish football club Valencia CF in May 2014 with an estimated price of £420 million (RM1.7 billion). In September the same year, the billionaire bought 50 percent of the share in Salford City F.C. from former Manchester United players Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs.
Leicester City F.C. – Vichai Srivaddanaprabha (Thailand)
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, CEO of King Power Duty Free, an operator of duty-free shops, bought the Leicester City F.C. in 2010. The amount of the purchase was kept secret, and it was made following a three-year shirt sponsorship deal. A year later, the billionaire was named chairman of Leicester City. His son, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, is vice-chairman.
Manchester City F.C. – Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Qatar)
This billionaire from Qatar took over Premier League football club, Machester City F.C., from former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2008 with a purchase of £200 million (RM820 million). Since then Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has invested millions of euro to buy world famous players until Manchester City succeeded in winning the English Premier League 2011/12.
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. – Nasser Al-Khelaifi (Qatar)
Owner of sports television station beIN Media Group, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, also a former professional tennis player, bought Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football club in June 2011. Backed with a huge funding, PSG started receiving the attention of football fans worldwide when it managed to sign some of the biggest names in football such as David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva.
The family of Dr B. V. Rao, daughter Anuradha Desai and sons Venkatesh and Balaji, not only owns the V H Group – an Indian company with interests in poultry and processed food, among others – but they also own English Football League Championship football club Blackburn Rovers. The takeover was made in 2010 with a share purchase of 99.9 percent, a total of approximately £23 million (RM94.3 million).
Pakistani-American billionaire Shahid Khan bought Fulham F.C. in July 2013, from Egyptian business magnate Al-Fayed. The amount of the purchase is undisclosed. However, the media speculates that the club takeover cost around £150 million to £200 million (RM615 million to RM820 million). Aside from the football club, Khan also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL).
Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung Ka Sing started buying the shares of Birmingham City F.C. since 2007 but failed his takeover attempt. However, in 2009, via his company Grandtop International Holdings Ltd, Yeung successfully held 29.9% of the club’s shares. He later offered £57 million to buy the newly promoted Birmingham City. In February 2014, Yeung stepped down from his positions as football club president, football club PLC chairman, and holding company chairman and director. He currently is serving a six-year sentence for money-laundering.
Sheffield United F.C. – Abdullah bin Musa’ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia)
Saudi Arabian Prince and businessman Abdullah bin Musa’ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 50 percent of the English football league club Sheffield United shares. He currently serves as co-chairman along with Kevin McCabe. The prince owns the club with the purpose of seeing Sheffield United battling it out at the championship league.