San Francisco 49ers buy stake in English soccer club Leeds

Sutton United's Bedsente Gomis, centre, competes for the ball with Leeds United's Paul McKay, left, during the English FA Cup soccer match between Sutton United and Leeds United at Borough Sports Ground in London, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

LEEDS, England — The San Francisco 49ers have taken a minority ownership stake in English soccer club Leeds.

Leeds says on its website the deal is a "strategic partnership with 49ers Enterprises, an investment entity affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers."

The second-tier club says "funds invested will remain inside the club and will go towards investment in the first team squad."

The agreement brokered by Leeds majority owner Andrea Radrizzani sees the president of 49ers Enterprises, Paraag Marathe, join the Leeds board of directors.

Seen as a sleeping giant of English soccer, Leeds finished 13th in the 24-team Championship this season.

Leeds won the last of its three English league titles in 1992, and was a Champions League semifinalist in 2001.

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