In May, it was reported that Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour had acquired a San Diego team in Major League Soccer (MLS), the top-level men’s football league in the United States.
Mansour set a new MLS expansion fee record, paying $500 million, surpassing the previous $325 million record by Charlotte FC in 2019. The San Diego team, debuting in 2025 and yet to unveil its name, will join other prominent California MLS clubs such as the San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Los Angeles Football Club.
Mansour’s new franchise will operate independently and have no affiliation with the existing San Diego Loyal, who compete in the USL Championship, the second-tier men’s football league in the US.
Mansour is among a growing number of African billionaires and ultra-high-net-worth individuals investing significant sums into owning and growing football clubs on and off the continent. Billionaires.Africa profiles ten such individuals who own football clubs in Africa and beyond.
Billionaire mining tycoon Patrice Matsepe owns the Mamelodi Sundowns, a South African professional football club in Mamelodi, Pretoria, Gauteng Province. The club plays in the Premier Soccer League, South Africa’s top football league. Matsepe also serves as the president of the Confederation of African Football.
Alongside billionaire Wes Edens, Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris owns football club holding company V Sports, which possesses Premier League team Aston Villa and a 46-percent stake in Primeira Liga team Vitória S.C. Additionally, V Sports is in discussions to establish a MLS team in Las Vegas, with the name ‘Las Vegas Villains’ registered for copyright in the United States and Europe.
Mohammed Dewji, Africa’s youngest billionaire and CEO of the Tanzanian conglomerate METL, holds a 49-percent stake in the Simba Sports Club, a football club in Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Nigerian billionaire Kunle Soname, a sports gaming mogul, owns Bet9ja, an online bookmaker company. In 2015, he acquired the Portuguese side Clube Desportivo Feirense. He also owns the Remo Stars Football Club, a Nigerian football club in Ikenne, Nigeria, playing in the second division of the Nigeria National League.
Irvin Khoza chairs the Orlando Pirates Football Club. He has business interests in the construction industry and owns gas stations, shopping malls, and shops in Soweto.
Kaizer Motuang owns the Kaizer Chiefs, a South African professional football club in Naturena, playing in the Premier Soccer League. Motuang owns investment vehicles Kaimot Investments and Kaizer Holdings.
Shola Akinlade, Paystack co-founder, co-founded Sporting Lagos FC in 2022, a Lagos-based football club. Sporting Lagos FC was recently promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for the 2023-24 season. In March 2023, Akinlade acquired a 55-percent stake in Danish club Aarhus Fremad, which competes in the Danish 2nd Division, the third tier of the Danish football league system.
Egyptian multimillionaire businessman Assem Allam owns the EFL League One club Hull City A.F.C. He also owns Allam Marine, an industrial generator manufacturer.
Moise Katumbi owns the Congolese football club TP Mazembe, which previously won the CAF Champions League. A prominent politician, Katumbi founded Mining Company Katanga (MCK), sold in 2015 to French logistics giant Necontrans.
Ali Haddad, 56, is CEO of ETRHB Haddad Group, a hydraulics and building works company. Haddad owns Union Sportive de la Medina d’Alger, also known as USM Alger, a football club in Algiers.