The owners of Sheffield United have added an Indian football club to their portfolio, reports Goal.
United World Group have bought Quartz FC and rebranded them as FC Kerala United. The group was founded by Blades owner, Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz al Saud. He is also the chairman.
They are described as a sports management firm and the Saudi Prince’s close associate, Jan van Winckel, is technical director. United CEO, Stephen Bettis, and chairman, Prince Musaad bin Khalid Al Saud, are also advisors.
As well as the Blades, two other clubs are already under the United World umbrella. They are K Beerschot VA from Belgium’s top flight and UAE second division team, Al Hilal United.
Sheffield United owners going worldwide
The Blades owner is part of the House of Saud, the ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia. He has been financially involved with the South Yorkshire club since 2013, but became sole owner last season.
It was after a High Court battle with former co-owner, Kevin McCabe.
Despite their interests in the Premier League and Belgium, United World Group apparently identified Asia as a key area for football growth. India was considered particularly appealing – hence this latest acquisition.
Kerala United will play in the Kerala Premier League and I-League Division Two during the 2020/21 season.
However, the long-term ambition is for them to play in India’s top tier. United World also want to set up football academies and grassroots projects across the country.
They looked at clubs in Mumbai and Kolkata before eventually settling on Quartz FC – now Kerala United. The Indian side are now considered a sister club of the Blades, which is why the name change has been made.
It remains to be seen if any other links are created between the two teams in the future.