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Real Madrid lose $589m sponsorship battle with Abu Dhabi fund

Real Madrid had claimed US$440 million from Abu Dhabi sovereign investor Mubadala because it said the latter failed to honour a sponsorship deal. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID – Spanish soccer’s Real Madrid have lost a US$440 million (S$589 million) court battle with Abu Dhabi sovereign investor Mubadala over the proposed sponsorship of its stadium in Madrid, sources with knowledge of the case have told Reuters.

Real Madrid claimed US$440 million from Mubadala because it said the Abu Dhabi sovereign investor failed to honour a sponsorship deal under which it would acquire rights to name the Santiago Bernabeu stadium for 20 years.

“The arbitral tribunal constituted under the rules of the Court of International Trade in Paris has ruled in favour of (Mubadala),” the source told Reuters.

In 2014, Real Madrid agreed to a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment (IPIC), now Mubadala, to help finance a planned stadium overhaul.

The project was meant to add a striking new roof and exterior to the current structure and include a hotel and a shopping centre, to help the world’s richest club by income boost its revenue.

However, in 2015, a Madrid court halted the original modification of the stadium.

A later plan, approved by the Madrid city council in 2017, was different to the one agreed by the soccer club and Mubadala.

The court ruled the sponsorship contract expired by the time the second expansion was agreed in 2017.

Mudabala’s holdings include Spanish energy firm Compania Espanola de Petroleos. REUTERS