Portsmouth all set for takeover

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

It appears that Portsmouth are close to new ownership with Abu Dhabi billionaire Sulaiman Al Fahim near to sealing a deal for the South coast club. The takeover should be completed within the next couple of weeks.

There were fears that the proposed takeover could be scuppered after the deal hit a number of snags. Reports suggested that owner in waiting, Sulaiman Al Fahim, may actually be funded by anonymous investors linked with the owners of Manchester City.

Indeed Al Fahim was central to the acquirement of City by Abi Dhabu United group. As a board member he negotiated the purchase. He swiftly announced his ambitious plans for the club, aiming to bring in “the best football players in the world”.

Yet his position was clarified when Mansour Bin Zayed came to the fore as the main force behind the acquistion of the club. It was soon declared that Al Fahim held no position on the City board and had no further involvement in the club.

Reports in the papers implied that Hydra Properties, the company where Sulaiman Al Fahim holds the chief executive position, may be part of a wider group. This company is in turn chaired by the brother of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, owner of the Eastlands club.

Should this be the case, it would contravene regulations laid down by the Premier League. Rules dictate that it is forbidden for two or more clubs to be owned by the same controlling interest. Threatening to damage the £60 million deal, Al Fahim was quick to dismiss this rumour.

Ironically, former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra was linked with being involved with the Pompey deal. However Portsmouth were quick to rubbish any such suggestion.

It does however all seem extremely confusing. Despite all the controversy surrounding Al Fahim, according to the billionaire, proceedings are now running smoothly and he is all set to be revealed as the new owner.

Upon completion of his appropriation of Portsmouth Football club, it will mark the second club in top flight English football now under ownership of a company from the United Arab Emirates.

Seemingly Al Fahim is set to meet a branch of the Portsmouth supporters club, to discuss any concerns they may have and outlining his proposed plans for the Fratton Park side.

Both a worrying and exciting trend, it certainly frustrates football bosses at FIFA and UEFA who have been highly critical of foreign investment in English football.

With ridiculous figures already paid for the likes of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, the spending spree within European football looks set to continue. Portsmouth undoubtedly need a revamp of the squad, losing key player like Lassana Diarra, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe in the last six months.

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