San Francisco 49ers increase stake in Leeds United to 37 per cent

The San Francisco 49ers have made a further investment in Leeds United; they increased their stake in the Premier League club by 22 per cent from the 15 per cent stake they purchased 3 years ago; Andrea Radrizzani has appointed Paraag Marathe as vice-chairman.

The San Francisco 49ers have increased stake in Leeds United to 37 per cent
Image: The San Francisco 49ers have increased stake in Leeds United to 37 per cent

The NFL's San Francisco 49ers have increased their investment in Leeds United by 22 per cent to bring their minority ownership in the club to 37 per cent.

As part of the new deal Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has appointed Paraag Marathe as vice chairman of the club.

Marathe is President of 49ers Enterprises and has been on the Leeds United Board since 2018.

Radrizzani bought Leeds from Massimo Cellino in 2017 and the following year took the club into a "strategic partnership" with the 49ers, in which the US franchise would share business practices, while also purchasing a 15 per cent stake.

"We are delighted to welcome further investment into our club from 49ers Enterprises and I am confident that this latest partnership will help Leeds United continue to grow and develop into the team our supporters deserve," said Radrizzani.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani says the new investment will help Leeds develop and grow
Image: Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani says the new investment will help Leeds develop and grow

"I have always been open to bringing partners on this journey with me, as long as these actions can benefit the long-term strategy of the club.

"Paraag and the team at 49ers Enterprises are uniquely positioned to collaborate with myself, Angus Kinnear, Victor Orta and our management team to help us achieve our goals."

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Commenting on the deal Paraag Marathe said: "Our 49ers Enterprises team has always shared Andrea's vision for constructing a powerful and winning club in the most competitive football league in the world, and the experience of the last three seasons has been more exhilarating than we could have ever imagined.

"The hard work and bold leadership demonstrated by Andrea and his talented team has restored Leeds United's rightful place in the Premier League and we look forward to playing an even bigger role in supporting their efforts to climb the table this year and into the future."

Sky Sports News Reporter Richard Graves…

This is a significant day for Leeds United and a significant commitment from the 49ers investment arm.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has long made it clear he would welcome outside investment but it had to be with the right people for the club. It turns out, the right partner is one Leeds already have an established relationship with.

In Paraag Marathe, who now assumes the role of vice-chairman on the Leeds United board, the club has someone who has proven experience in all areas of the sports market.

Marathe played a key role overseeing the development of Levi's Stadium - home of the 49ers - and in rebuilding the success of the team on the field. His skills and expertise have been key in attracting and keeping star players in San Francisco.

Alongside Angus Kinnear and Victor Orta, Leeds no doubt hope those attributes, aligned with this investment, can help the club move to the next level.

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Image: Marcelo Bielsa joined Leeds in 2018

Success on the pitch needs to be matched by development off it. Leeds are already relaying the Elland Road playing surface but more extensive work is planned in the off-season. Further upgrades to the training facilities are something that have previously been talked about and can now be explored.

Leeds turned heads when they convinced Marcelo Bielsa to manage a Championship club in 2018 but it was a bold move which ultimately paid dividends when he delivered the ultimate goal - promotion back to the Premier League last summer.

With Bielsa looking after the club's performance on the pitch, Leeds have now moved to back him by securing their operation off it.

Radrizzani has previously made it clear he has a long term plan for Leeds United and now he has added another piece to that jigsaw.

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