Real Madrid seals deal with Abu Dhabi state fund
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid has joined forces with an Abu Dhabi state investment fund to promote the club internationally and transform its Santiago Bernabeu stadium into the “greatest sporting venue in the world,” the European champions said Tuesday.
Club president Florentino Perez signed a long-term “strategic alliance” with International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), represented by Khadem al-Qubaisi.
Sheikh Mansour, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and owner of Manchester City, is chairman of IPIC’s board.
Madrid announced in January a 400 million euro ($540 million) project led by German company GMT Architects to overhaul its home ground.
IPIC said in a statement that the alliance would also enable Madrid to spread its “heritage and football ethos around the globe.”
Financial details were not disclosed.
Madrid, which has debts of over 500 million euros ($675 million), originally said it planned to finance the renovation by selling naming rights to the stadium and through a bond issue among Madrid members.
IPIC said the deal would promote Madrid soccer schools and museums, and would also provide “the commercial means” to help revamp the Bernabeu.
The rebuild includes giving the stadium a new exterior, while adding a hotel and a shopping center. The same architects also designed the Arena Amazonia World Cup stadium in Manaus, Brazil.
However, part of the city’s central Paseo de la Castellana boulevard would have to be built on, and authorities have not yet given planning permission for the project.
Madrid is listed by Forbes as the world’s richest club in 2014, with a declared income of 603.9 million euros ($782.4 million) over the past year.
Archrival club Barcelona struck a 30 million euro a year deal in 2010 with the Qatar Foundation and Qatar Airways to put a sponsor’s name on the front of the club’s jerseys.
The Bernabeu, which was inaugurated in 1947, has had several minor upgrades but was last redeveloped for the 1982 World Cup.