Sheffield United have appointed Jan Van Winckel, technical director of the Saudi Arabian FA and former Olympique de Marseille assistant, as a director of their holding company Blades Leisure Limited.
The reshuffle, which was confirmed by Companies House last night, also sees co-owner Kevin McCabe and his son Scott return to the board after stepping down from their positions earlier this year.
United, who are expected to officially confirm the changes later today, have yet to comment on the reason behind the change. But, given Van Winckel’s association with the Middle Eastern kingdom, it seems probable he will act as a footballing adviser to HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who was handed a 50 per cent stake in the Championship club four years ago.
Van Winckel, aged 43, worked alongside Marcelo Bielsa at the Stade Vélodrome before accepting a position in Riyadh. Together with Prince Abdullah, who until recently served as president of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority, he was responsible for formulating a plan aimed developing the country’s coaches and players ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The McCabe’s return can be interpreted as an attempt to ensure both sides of United’s ownership carry equal weight in the decision-making process at Bramall Lane.
Van Winckel, who holds a UEFA Pro-license began his coaching career at the University of Leuven, where he graduated in Physical Education and Business Economics.
He has also performed roles at KV Mechelen, Club Brugge KV, Al-Hilal and with the national teams of Swaziland, United Arab Emirates and his native Belgium.