49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of NFL team the San Francisco 49ers, has bought a minority share in Championship side Leeds United.
The move sees 49ers Enterprises acquire around 10 percent of Leeds United, with president Paraag Marathe joining the club’s board.
Marathe is the president of the investment arm but is also executive vice president of football operations with the 49ers, dealing with contract negotiations and managing the salary cap.
Marathe intends to take a ‘hands-on’ role at the club going forward working alongside Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani and can also offer expertise in terms of commercial and operational aspects of the team.
Leeds insist that investment coming in from the deal will remain in the club and be put towards investment in new players for the first team.
“This strategic partnership enables Leeds United to align with and gain invaluable expertise from the owners of one of the biggest global sports entities,” said Radrizzani.
“The 49ers are an innovative, successful organisation and we are delighted to have access to such a rich source of business and sporting expertise.
“This exciting partnership builds on the foundations we have laid down at the club in the last 12 months and we can assure supporters that the funds invested will go towards improving results on the pitch.”
For the last 18 years, Marathe has served in a number of strategic leadership roles for the 49ers, developing a significant track record in contract management and negotiations along with extensive involvement in the logistical and operational side of running a global sports organisation.
“It is truly an honour to be invited to join the board of a football club as storied as Leeds United. I share the vision that Andrea has for returning Leeds United to greatness,” said Marathe.
“I believe that the knowledge and experience we bring to the table combined with the hard work being done by Andrea and his talented team will make that vision a reality.”