The 12 clubs plotting a breakaway from the European football structure are controlled by a wide array of mega-rich owners, many of whom have investments in other sports teams around the world.
Three of the six British teams involved have American owners. The Glazer family, which also owns the reigning NFL champion Tampa Bay Buccanneers, has run Manchester United since businessman Malcom Glazer, who died in 2014, bought the team in 2005. John W. Henry, founder of the Fenway Sports Group that owns the MLB’s Boston Red Sox, is at the helm of Liverpool. And Stan Kroenke’s holding company is behind Arsenal and a host of US franchises — the most lucrative being the NFL’s LA Rams and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003 and his subsequent investment in transfers elevated the club to the top of the British game. A similar move by Sheikh Mansour, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, helped Manchester City climb into the football elite. Tottenham are the only British-owner Premier League team involved in the plans; British billionaire Joe Lewis is at the helm of that team.
Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona follow a presidential model that is largely unique within European football. Individuals run in hotly contested elections, voted for by the club’s members, and are required to put hefty financial backing into the clubs if elected. Construction mogul Florentino Perez has been Real Madrid’s President since 2009. Joan Laporta took over at the helm of Barcelona last month, after the tumultuous term of Josep Maria Bartomeu led to fears among fans that superstar Lionel Messi would leave the team.
Atlético Madrid use a more traditional model; businessman Miguel Ángel Gil Marín owns a majority share in that team.
Inter Milan’s Chinese owners, the Suning Holdings Group chaired by Zhang Jindong, took over from the Italian Moratti family in 2016. Their local rivals AC Milan have US owners; the investment firm Elliott Management Corporation, run by hedge fund manager Paul Singer, is behind the side.
Juventus, unlike most of the teams involved, have been owned by the industrialist Agnelli family for nearly a century. That group’s fortunes were built on the back of the Fiat automobile firm, founded by Giovanni Agnelli in 1899.