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Reports: Real Madrid lose €400m court battle with Mubadala

Abu Dhabi sovereign fund had committed to 20-year Bernabeu naming rights deal.

15 May 2023 Josh Sim

Getty Images

  • Strategic partnership between Madrid and IPIC (now Mubadala) was first agreed in 2014
  • Revised plans forced UAE-based fund to withdraw from project in 2017

Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid have lost a €400 million (US$435 million) legal battle with the Mubadala Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund over the planned sponsorship of their stadium, according to multiple reports.

In 2014, the LaLiga outfit agreed a strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi-backed International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), which is now known as Mubadala, to provide financing for a project that would renovate their Santiago Bernabéu home. Planned works, which would ultimately be undertaken with alternative financing, would include the building of a new roof and exterior to the current structure, as well as the construction of several new revenue-generating units.

According to El País, the deal also included the stadium’s naming rights for a 20-year period, provided certain conditions were met. However, the original plans for overhauling the venue was halted by a Madrid court in 2015. While a revised plan was then approved by Madrid city council in 2017, the differences from the original proposal were said to cause IPIC’s withdrawal from the project, as it felt the contract’s agreed conditions were no longer being met.

Real Madrid then brought the fund before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration in 2018, alleging they were owed €400 million (US$435 million) in funding before the sovereign investor broke off the deal. El País reports that the court has now ruled that the contract had expired on its own terms in June 2017, as a result of the changes made to the proposed renovations.

It was also determined that Los Blancos had never requested IPIC’s consent to amend the project, which the outlet reports would have reduced the building area by more than 30,000 square metres. Consequently, Real Madrid were not legally in a position where they could hold IPIC to its sponsorship agreement.

The Santiago Bernabéu is still undergoing renovations at the moment, with the overall project thought to cost as much as €900 million (US$979 million). A completion date is currently being targeted for either this September or October.

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