43rd richest man behind Tasmanian A-League bid
The world’s 43rd richest person, Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi has been named as the mystery sheikh being courted by officials of Tasmania United FC who are bidding to become an A-League team.
The club’s football director Ken Morton refused on Tuesday to confirm or deny reports the man in talks with the club about becoming its Roman Abramovich is Ethiopia’s richest person.
The difference between Chelsea’s Russian owner Abramovich and Mohammed Al Amoudi in terms of net wealth is about $US500 million ($A758 million) in the sheikh’s favour.
Tasmania United FC bid boss John McGirr let slip about “a sheikh” at a news conference in Hobart on Monday, saying he could become the proposed club’s sole sponsor: “Just like (Roman) Abramovich at Chelsea”.
The sheikh’s name was revealed by the Mercury newspaper on Tuesday.
Morton said on Tuesday a meeting with “a businessman” – he will able to name soon – is being arranged after promising preliminary sponsorship talks.
“We have a businessman, who is up there in the rich list and is interested in football, and the first indications are that this proposal seems interesting to him,” Morton said.
Earlier this year Forbes magazine ranked Al Amoudi as the 43rd richest person in the world with a net worth of $US9 billion ($A13.64 billion).
His father is Yemeni and his mother is Ethiopian. He immigrated to Saudi Arabia in 1965 and became a Saudi citizen.
Al Amoudi made his fortune in construction and real estate before branching out to buy oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is the 51st richest man in the world with a net worth of $US8.5 billion ($A12.89 billion), according to Forbes.
The cost of becoming Tasmania’s Abramovich is $A6 million over three years.
Other revenue streams make up the $A7.5 million per year cost of running the team who could play their home games in front of a large, covered grandstand across an end of Bellerive Oval.
Gold Coast and North Queensland Fury will join the A-League next season, making it a 10-team competition.
McGirr said the 11th licence has gone to a Melbourne bid.
Tasmania United FC will go up against bids from Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra for the 12th A-League licence.