Abu Dhabi United Group

The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG; Arabic: مجموعة أبوظبي الاتحاد للتنمية والاستثمار) is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) based private equity company.[1] It is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan,[2] member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the UAE.[3][4] Leaks of internal documents show that the Abu Dhabi government manages the accounts belonging to ADUG.[5] ADUG insists it is separate from the Abu Dhabi government.[5]

Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment
Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG)
Native name
مجموع ةأبوظبي المتحدة للتنمية والاستثمار
Sports services
FounderMansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Key people
Khaldoon Al Mubarak
OwnerMansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
SubsidiariesCity Football Group (81%)

The primary interest of the group is its 81% majority ownership of City Football Group, a worldwide organisation most notably controlling Manchester City, Mumbai City, Melbourne City and New York City, as well as several other international football clubs. However, it also holds interests in various other endeavours outside of the sporting world with an extensive property portfolio in the United Arab Emirates and Manchester.

City Football Group Edit

The Group was founded in the summer of 2008, as Sheikh Mansour looked to take over Manchester City Football Club from the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra[6] and signed off the deal on 1 September 2008,[7] with due diligence completed on 23 September the same year.[8]

Sulaiman Al-Fahim was the public face of ADUG during the initial phase of the takeover - a larger-than-life figure[9] often described as the "Donald Trump of Abu Dhabi".[10] On completion of the takeover, Al-Fahim generated considerable attention in the footballing world with promises of grandiose spending plans to capture the world's greatest footballing talents.[11] Although he did bring in the Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid on the same day on which the takeover was agreed,[12] one week after ADUG took control of the club Al-Fahim was removed from his role[13] to be replaced by Khaldoon al-Mubarak, who remains in position to the present day.[citation needed]

In 2011, Manchester City qualified for the Champions League and won the FA Cup, providing the club their first success in over three decades following ADUG's support.[14] In 2012, the club won the Premier League, their first league title in forty-four years.[15]

Following the success of the Manchester club, ADUG began investment into other football clubs. After founding the MLS side New York City[16] and purchasing the A-League franchise Melbourne Heart[17] (shortly afterwards renamed Melbourne City), it was deemed necessary to create a new infrastructure to manage the various worldwide footballing ventures, and to keep them separate from non-footballing business. For this purpose, City Football Group was created in 2014 to oversee all of the teams under their control,[18] acting as holding company not only to the football teams but to several businesses designed to market football services to the wider market.[19] In return, ADUG became the holding company for CFG.[18]

ADUG have diluted their shareholding the City Football Group on two occasions in 2015 and 2019 to the approximate value of £654 million.[20][21] As of 2020, they own 78% of the City Football Group. Since July 2021, CFG has been managed under Newton Investment and Development LLC, another company wholly owned by Sheikh Mansour.[22][23]

Other business interests Edit

ADUG also have an extensive property portfolio in the United Arab Emirates and abroad.[24] Aside from Manchester City, ADUG have amassed investments totalling nearly £1 billion in Manchester, mainly in property and higher education sectors.[25][26] Aside from purchasing assets for their own control, ADUG signed a ten-year partnership with Manchester City Council to revamp the east end of the city - not coincidentally the same area in which Manchester City are based - creating the Manchester Life Development Company in conjunction with the council in order to build 6,000 affordable houses in the area.[27][28]

Criticism Edit

According to Human Rights Watch, ADUG's investment in Manchester City enabled Abu Dhabi to "construct a public relations image of a progressive, dynamic Gulf state, which deflects attention from what is really going on in the country".[29][30][page needed]

Manchester City was accused of receiving £30 million from an unknown figure from the United Arab Emirates, that was supposed to come from the sponsor. The £30 million payments are expected to be one of the 115 Premier League's financial charges against Manchester City. The report also claimed that the payments were actually disguised equity funding that came from the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the vice president of the UAE. According to the report, during UEFA disciplinary hearing, the Manchester City’s lawyer named the unknown person as Jaber Mohamed, claiming that he is a businessman providing financial and brokering services in the UAE.[31]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "4 ways English champions Manchester City reflect the new world order". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 19 July 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  3. ^ Randall, Colin (9 September 2008). "Mansour to replace Man City directors". TheNational.ae. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  4. ^ "UAE Federal e-Government Portal - Ministry of Presidential Affairs". government.ae. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  5. ^ a b Buschmann, Rafael; Naber, Nicola; Winterbach, Christoph (7 April 2022). "Manchester City's Cozy Ties to Abu Dhabi: Sponsorship Money – Paid for by the State". Der Spiegel. ISSN 2195-1349. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Manchester City's new owners put national pride before profit". The Guardian. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Manchester City Takeover". ArabianBusiness.com. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Hughes to hold City owner talks". bbc.co.uk. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  9. ^ "The crazy world of Dr Al Fahim". The Guardian. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Arabian might at Eastlands". BBC Sport. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  11. ^ "Manchester City plan £135m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo". The Guardian. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Man City beat Chelsea to Robinho". BBC Sport. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Manchester City front man Sulaiman Al Fahim sidelined". The Guardian. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Man City 1 - 0 Stoke". BBC Sport. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Man City 3 2 QPR". BBC Sport. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Major League Soccer announces New York expansion team: New York City Football Club". mlssoccer.com. 21 May 2013. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  17. ^ "Club Statement: 22 January 2014". mcfc.co.uk. 22 January 2014. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  18. ^ a b "MANCHESTER CITY ANNUAL REPORT 2012–13" (PDF). mcfc.co.uk. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Manchester City FC have plans for global brand domination". The Daily Telegraph. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  20. ^ "CFG Announces US$500 Million Strategic Investment by Silver Lake". 27 November 2019.
  21. ^ "CFG Statement: 1 December 2015". mcfc.co.uk. 1 December 2015. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Our Story". City Football Group.
  23. ^ Poindexter, Owen (28 November 2022). "Silver Lake Buys Stake in Manchester City Owner". Front Office Sports. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Manchester City owner buys St Regis hotel on Saadiyat Island from TDIC". The National. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Abu Dhabi United Group financing Manchester homes". BBC News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Major new partnership will deliver thousands of Manchester homes". Manchester City Council. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  27. ^ "City owner and council to build 6,000 new homes in £1bn deal". Manchester Evening News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  28. ^ "COMMENT: Why is Abu Dhabi investing so much in Manchester?". Daily Express. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  29. ^ Ulrichsen, Kristian Coates (2016). The Gulf States in International Political Economy. Springer. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-137-38561-1.
  30. ^ Montague, James (2017). The Billionaires Club: The Unstoppable Rise of Football's Super-rich Owners. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. ISBN 978-1-4729-2311-0.
  31. ^ Ziegler, Martyn; Lawton, Matt (29 June 2023). "Man City accused over £30m 'sponsorship' payments". The Times. Retrieved 4 July 2023.