European Super League billionaires who ‘spit in the face of profiled football fans’
Together they are worth billions, with sports clubs around the world.
They have yachts, luxury mansions, and acres of prime real estate and land.
But big cat owners Joel Glazer (Man Utd), John W Henry (Liverpool) and Stan Kroenke (Arsenal) have faced a furious backlash from fans for the new European Super League breakaway.
They have the backing of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in Chelsea, Sheikh Mansour of Man City and Abu Dhabi-backed Spurs, owned by Britain’s Joe Lewis.
But, according to UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin, their plan is “spitting in the face of football fans”.
He warned that the biggest stars – including Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford for England – will be “banned from the World Cup and the Euro”.
As Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden promises a fan-led review of football, we profile those who have sparked a crisis in our national sport.
Chelsea – Roman Abramovich
The Russian and his billions have turned Chelsea into a Premier League giant.
Since taking possession of them in 2003, investing heavily in renowned managers and players, they have won 16 major trophies, including five Premier League titles and the Champions League.
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Abramovich, estimated by Forbes to be worth around £ 10.7 billion, also owns stakes in steel giant Evraz and Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel.
It has become the world’s biggest spender on luxury yachts and maintains a fleet dubbed Abramovich’s Navy. His 530 foot yacht Eclipse is one of the many gems of his fortune.
A politician in Russia, he served as governor of the Chukotka region and has donated over £ 1.4million to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure.
Abramovich, 53, is known to have maintained close relations with former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and current President Vladimir Putin.
In 1991, he married ex-Aeroflot flight attendant Irina Malandina. They have five children, Ilya, Arina, Sofia, Arkadiy and Anna.
Its British real estate empire is estimated at over £ 200million.
Arsenal – Stan Kroenke
Nicknamed Silent Stan, the 73-year-old American billionaire is heavily involved in sports as the owner of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment.
He’s been involved with the Gunners since 2007 and took full control of them three years ago.
Kroenke also owns elite American teams LA Rams (American football), Denver Nuggets (basketball), Colorado Avalanche (ice hockey) and Colorado Rapids (football).
His wife Ann Walton is heir to the vast fortune of the Walmart supermarket.
Despite his involvement in the sport watched by millions of people, Kroenke got his nickname because he prefers to avoid the spotlight.
It is estimated to be worth £ 7 billion. In 2015, he angered fans by moving his team from the Rams to St Louis, where it had been based since 1994, to California.
In 2016, he bought a £ 520million, 520,000 acre ranch in Texas, which helped make him one of the top 10 landowners in the United States.
Spurs – Joe Lewis
Art lover and football fan, Lewis has a fortune of £ 4 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
The Londoner entered family catering at the age of 15, but in the 1980s he got into currency trading.
Lewis, 84, is the largest investor in the Tavistock Group, which owns more than 200 companies in 15 countries. He formerly had stakes in Scottish Rangers and Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic.
Lewis lives in the Bahamas as a tax exile.
He is said to have a collection of works of art worth an estimated £ 700million, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Lucian Freud and Henry Moore.
He bought the Bacon Triptych 1974–1977 in 2008 for £ 26.3 million.
Lewis is also the main shareholder of the Mitchells & Butlers advertising group.
Other investments include luxury resorts, hotels and an Australian farming business. He owns Aviva, a luxury yacht.
Italian and Spanish giants
Real Madrid are the most decorated team in continental football history, winning 13 European Cups – six more than AC Milan.
Club president Florentino Perez will be the first president of the Super League.
The actual is valued at £ 2.5 billion according to Forbes. Perez, who made his fortune in construction, is worth around £ 1.5bn.
The club is fan-owned, with around 90,000 investors known as Socios having stakes.
Barcelona, 26 times La Liga winners and five-time European champions, are also set to compete, as are Atletico Madrid.
The Barcelona club are also owned by the fans. More than 144,000 members pay each year and have the shareholder vote on important decisions.
Last month Joan Laporta was elected for a second term as club president.
Andrea Agnelli, president of the great Italian team Juventus, will join AC Milan and Inter Milan.
uventus has been majority, almost permanently owned by the Agnelli family since 1923.
In February, the club said they had suffered a loss of £ 98million and expected to lose more in the second half of the season to Covid.
Liverpool – John W Henry
Mr. Henry’s Fenway Sports Group has owned Liverpool since 2010.
He also owns the Boston Red Sox (baseball) and stakes in Roush Fenway Racing (NASCAR) and the minor league baseball team, the Salem Red Sox.
Worth an estimated $ 3 billion, Mr Henry made his money from trading company JW Henry and Co before buying the Red Sox with his partner Tom Werner – the president of Liverpool.
Under their control in 2004, the Sox won a first World Series in 86 years.
In 2016, he spent £ 68million on a new 215ft super-yacht that could accommodate 12 overnight guests in a master suite, three double cabins and two twins, and up to 17 crew in separate quarters.
Mr Henry, who is married to Linda Pizzuti, 30 years younger, put his Florida mansion up for sale in 2018 for $ 25 million before dropping $ 10 million.
Many fans have turned on him for saying he loves the club’s history, only to support the Super League.
Manchester United – Glazer brothers
The Florida-based Glazers have controlled Manchester United since 2005 and also own the NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to Deloitte, United are the fourth richest club in the world behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Barcelona with a turnover of 580 million dollars. [£415m].
The glaziers’ money comes from their sports empires and American real estate. They acquired the Buccaneers for $ 192 million [£137m] in 1995 and now worth $ 3.1 billion [£2.2bn].
They took over United for $ 1.4 billion [£1bn], according to Forbes, the club is now worth more than $ 3 billion [£2.1bn].
The family owns First Allied Corporation, a real estate holding company that owns and leases malls across the United States. The company owns over 6.7 million square feet.
The Glazers have seen frequent protests against their club ownership and in 2010 a group of wealthy Manchester United fans known as the Red Knights discussed a billion pound takeover bid.
However, the bid failed when the Red Knights refused to honor the Glazers’ assessment of the club.
Manchester City – Sheikh Mansour
With Abu Dhabi royal family member Sheikh Mansour pulling the purse strings, the club have not looked back since taking office in 2008.
Money was swiftly pumped into all areas – academy, training ground, playing staff, coaching – and City quickly overtook their neighbors United.
They have won four Premier Leagues since then, look set for a fifth this season and are in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Abu Dhabi group is the majority owner of the City Football Group which claims Man City as the flagship team.
The group has teams all over the world.
The High Court has learned that the Sheikh’s assets include around 140 properties in the wealthiest areas of London, including Mayfair, Marylebone, Knightsbridge and Kensington.
Sheikh’s Royal Yacht, Azzam, at 590 feet, is the world’s largest private ocean-going yacht. He is also Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Minister for Presidential Affairs.