Dubai: When Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, bought Manchester City in 2008, few could have imagined the success that the club would achieve in the English Premier League, the world’s preeminent footballing competition.
Many wealthy foreign owners had tried their hand at football, and many had failed spectacularly.
However, with a team that looks capable of long-term success and a management team in place that could last for many years, the decision by Abu Dhabi to purchase Manchester City for £210 million (Dh991 million) 10 years ago this week looks like an increasingly shrewd business move.
But sporting success aside, how profitable is owning a football club, and when is the right time to exit that investment?
Can you even put a price on the visibility that being on the world stage has brought to Abu Dhabi, either through Etihad Airways’ sponsorship of the footbal team or through the myriad promotions and adverts for UAE companies that regularly appear on television?
Joined by senior sports reporter Ashley Hammond, we delve in to the complex business of football clubs, the marketing value for a foreign sovereign investor, and who the next Gulf state might be to enter the foray (hint: Chelsea might be up for sale soon. Saudia Airways shirt sponsors, anyone?).