The 2020-2021 UEFA Europa League Quarterfinals begin this Thursday and will do so with a peculiarity that, although it will not have to do directly with what happens on the pitch, is a vital part for the functioning of the clubs and the formation from their campuses.
These are the companies that are behind the eight teams that came to this instance, since five of them are foreign, three from the United States and two more from China, two of the nations that in recent years have invested money in sports institutions outside its borders.
United States, England and Italy
Manchester United: Between 2003 and 2005 the American businessman, Malcolm Irving Glazer took over the total of the shares of the Red Devils, paying more than 1,160 million dollars. Glazer passed away in 2014, but his family remains in charge of the English squad, plus they also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the recent 2021 Super Bowl Champions.
Arsenal: The Gunners belong to the Denver, Colorado-based company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Its owner is businessman Stan Kroeken, who in addition to the London team, is a majority shareholder of the NFL’s Angels Rams, MLS’s Colorado Rapids, NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
Rome: Dan Friedkin, originally from San Diego, California, owns the Friedkin Group company which has owned the Italian box since 2020. In addition to being a filmmaker and owner of a film and entertainment production company, Dan Friedkin is the CEO of one of the largest Toyota car dealerships.
China, in Spain and the Czech Republic
Granada CF: The Spanish team belongs since 2009 to the company Daxian 2009 SL, founded in Spain, however, in 2016 this firm passed into the hands of the Chinese businessman Jian Lizhang, who also invested to acquire the majority of the shares of the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA and the Parma football club of Italy.
Slavia Prague: In 2015 the Chinese company CEFC China Energy landed in the Czech Republic, and among the investments it made, it acquired 60 percent of the shares of the Czech team. Three years later, in 2018 it was announced that another Chinese company, Sinobo, was the new majority shareholder of the club which, together with Manchester, are the only ones to have won this competition.
The three clubs that are in the Quarterfinals and that have local investment behind are Villarreal of Spain, Ajax of the Netherlands and Dinamo Zagreb, which is currently in managerial problems, since its president Zoran Mamic, was accused of diversion of funds and corruption just last March 15.