Premier League Liverpool linked with Dubai sponsorship move
Henry travelled to Dubai to meet Marwan Abedin, who is on the board of Dubai’s biggest property developer.
Though Liverpool insist the meetings did not concern the football club, their former chief executive Rick Parry was also present and the trip meant Henry missed the Champions League clash with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, the most prominent match since his takeover of the club.
Henry flew to Dubai with his wife Linda on what the club say was a personal business trip. There he met Abedin, a man with close connections to the Dubai royal family who launched a takeover bid for the club in 2007.
Abedin is also the chief executive of Dubai Healthcare City and on the board of Emaar, the company who built the world’s largest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa. He has close links to Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and constitutional monarch of Dubai.
Some reports suggest that Henry’s trip was to secure a naming-rights sponsor for the £75million redevelopment of the new main stand at Anfield.
Reports suggested Henry’s trip was to secure a naming-rights sponsor for the redevelopment of Anfield.
Henry and his wife also have a shared interest in healthcare with Adebin. The Liverpool owner’s Boston charity, the John W Henry Foundation, states that one of its principal aims is to fund healthcare research and teaching.
But the presence of Parry, who advised Henry’s company, NESV, on their purchase of the club in 2010, is intriguing. Parry has denied he has been touring the Middle East on behalf of the club to look for investors and is said simply to be helping Henry because he has good contacts in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
However, the club will need a new shirt sponsor when the current £20m-a-year deal with Standard Chartered runs out at the end of next season. Henry wants the club to develop closer ties in the region in order to exploit commercial opportunities, but has always ruled out selling a stake in the business to Middle East investors.