Italian media tycoon buys 50% of Leeds United
Andrea Radrizzani to be co-owner of Championship club with Massimo Cellino
Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino (centre) has agreed to sell 50 per cent of thje club. Photograph: PA.
Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian TV rights mogul, has completed the purchase of a 50 per cent stake in Leeds United.
The 42-year-old, who has been in talks for some time with the club’s controversial owner, Massimo Cellino, will consider whether to move for a full takeover in the summer.
Radrizzani will, for now, work under the title of co-owner – Cellino has retained a 50 per cent stake – and is intent both on bringing stability to a club that have been synonymous with crisis and supporting the manager, Garry Monk, who has the team fifth in the Championship and in the hunt for automatic promotion.
Monk became the seventh manager in less than three years of Cellino’s stewardship when he was appointed last June.
Radrizzani talked of his pride and delight at making such a significant investment in one of England’s most famous clubs – one that he considers to be sleeping giants – and he said that he was fully aware of their “great heritage and traditions”.
“I am making a long-term commitment to Leeds United and will work to bring stability through ongoing investment,” Radrizzani said. “I aim to bring sustainable growth. I won’t do anything that will put the club’s future at risk. Through working in the sports industry for many years, I have developed a great passion for the English game and I am honoured to have become joint owner of one of the country’s biggest clubs.
“I am very impressed with the job Garry Monk has done this season and I will do all I can to support him and the team moving forward. The responsibility is on myself, Massimo and the executive management at the club to work together over the coming months to provide the best platform and environment for Garry and the team to achieve success.
“My immediate priorities over the coming weeks are to meet with Garry and the team; the club staff at Elland Road and Thorp Arch; supporters’ representatives; former players and media.”
It is unclear how Radrizzani will work with Cellino, given that the latter was banned by the English Football Association for 18 months in December and fined £250,000 (€295,000) for his involvement in Ross McCormack’s transfer from Leeds to Fulham in 2014.
The case involved a payment of £185,000 (€218,000) reaching an unlicensed advisor associated with McCormack. Cellino’s ban is scheduled to start on February 1st. He has pledged to appeal.
Radrizzani cofounded MP & Silva, an international sports agency that provides media rights distribution, digital and technology services, and sponsorship consultancy. They have offices in Singapore and London.
In May last year, a Chinese investment group consisting of Everbright Securities and Beijing Baofeng Technology acquired a 65 per cent stake in MP & Silva for more than $1 billion (€.95bn). Radrizzani is also the founder of the Play for Change foundation, which supports disadvantaged children.