Sheffield United spark final battle of long-running ownership feud

Sheffield United spark final battle of long-running feud between Prince Abdullah and Kevin McCabe as club issue legal threat to long-serving chairman over minor copyright issue

  • Prince Abdullah seized control of Sheffield United from Kevin McCabe  
  • Pair have long-running feud and and final battle is over copyright infringement
  • Legal letter was sent to McCabe about club crest on a sign for his company 

Sheffield United sparked the final skirmish of the club’s bitter power struggle this week by issuing a legal threat about a minor copyright infringement.

Blades chief executive Stephen Bettis signed a letter on Monday ordering a crest to be removed from fencing around an empty plot of land near Bramall Lane. The following day, a lone workman set out from Manchester with pots of paint to obliterate the offending image.

It is the latest clash in the long-running ownership dispute which has seen Prince Abdullah seize control of the club from long-serving chairman Kevin McCabe.

Kevin McCabe (left) and Prince Abdullah, pictured in 2013, were in a bitter power struggle

The Saudi prince won a High Court case last year to acquire McCabe’s 50 per cent stake in the club, newly promoted to the top flight, for just £5million.

As part of the ruling, he must also pay the market value for a package of properties, including the stadium and the training ground, from McCabe by July.

At the request of the prince, the two parties met in London in January and agreed a settlement which would avoid arbitration.

Prince Abdullah won a High Court case in September to take full ownership of Sheffield United

There was to be a downpayment by the end of March but the Prince has since withdrawn from the deal, meaning the two sides are once again locked on a course for another court date.

Statements were released on Wednesday by both McCabe’s company Scarborough International and the club.

Sheffield United accused its former chairman of trying to force the club out of Bramall Lane, its home since 1889, by increasing the price based on the residential value of the site.

The club sent a letter to former chairman McCabe over using the club crest  

Earlier in the week they had sent the legal letter to McCabe about a club crest which appeared on a sign for his company, Sheffield United Ltd, the former parent company and at one time sole owners of the Blades.

It had been displayed for months on the hoardings around a vacant plot of land near the ground known as Boundary Corner and has now been painted out.

The plot is one of two owned by McCabe which are inside the Bramall Lane site and earmarked for residential development and are not part of the package which Prince Abdullah is obliged to buy as part of the High Court ruling.

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