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Sheffield United owner to buy into Hungary’s Ferencváros

Sheffield United owner Kevin McCabe has won a tender to buy into Hungary’s best known club Ferencváros, ending a two-year saga during which the team was relegated due to its debts.

Hungary’s National Asset Management Council said on Wednesday that McCabe’s Hungarian firm, Esplanade Kft, would buy the struggling club’s real estate, including its stadium in central Budapest, for Ft 3.035 billion (£8.6 million, $16.9 million). Ferencváros have been Hungarian champions 28 times and won the domestic cup 20 times but the club’s debts, which are estimated at over $10 million, have mounted in the past decade and the team was relegated to the second division in 2006. Five failed tenders to sell the real estate and ground have been held over the past two years. The deal will help Ferencváros pay its debts and upgrade its stadium to meet FIFA and UEFA requirements. McCabe said after preliminary talks last year, that if his offer was successful, personnel from his English Championship (second division) club Sheffield United would be seconded to Ferencváros to manage soccer operations. The deal could also help United gain access to Hungarian players and would expand the English club’s developing worldwide network.

In 2006, United became the first foreign owner in Chinese football, when they bought a stake in Chengdu FC and last year the club formed a partnership with Belgium’s Royal White Star Woluwe FC. Ferencváros won the 1965 Fairs Cup, the predecessor to the UEFA Cup. (Reuters)