Portsmouth owner Al-Fahim to sell part of stake
Dubai/London: Portsmouth soccer club’s new owner Sulaiman al-Fahim said on Sunday he is in talks to sell a stake to Saudi Arabian investors to help inject more cash into the troubled English Premier League strugglers.
Speaking to Reuters, Fahim said he would be flying to London on Monday to finalise the deal this week.
“I decided to have two owners for the club for its sustainability,” Fahim said. “I don’t know how much of a stake (I will sell)... We have to agree on the terms ... first.”
The Observer newspaper quoted Fahim earlier on Sunday saying a deal would be concluded with Saudi businessman Ali al-Faraj, a property investor with a personal holding in petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC).
Speaking from Dubai, Al-Fahim told the paper: “I think by Monday or Tuesday he will be on board. His consortium will be a major shareholder. And I will keep a minority.”
The United Arab Emirates businessman said the consortium involved Ali and Ahmed al-Faraj and the deal was being coordinated by the club’s chief executive Peter Storrie.
Fahim is recovering from a kidney stones operation on Friday, which meant he had to postpone a meeting with the consortium scheduled for Sunday in London, the paper said.
“Due to my situation I will need rest and meet them on Monday,” Fahim said.
Portsmouth’s precarious financial position was underlined on Thursday when the league’s bottom club announced the first-team squad and executive board had not been paid.
Problems have arisen due to delays in refinancing the club by Al-Fahim, who completed his protracted takeover in August.
Last week the owner said he planned to inject 50 million pounds into the south coast club to stabilise their financial position.
“The injection of 50 million pounds will start in the third week of October,” Fahim told reporters.
Asked by the Observer if he would still be chairman after the takeover, Al-Fahim said: “I have no idea who from the team will join the board. Next Tuesday we will have a clear picture.”
“I am there for the long term and it is good to have a few partners so if one decides to leave the other can buy more shares and the club is always safe. Therefore, I will be ready to invest more.”
Portsmouth won their first match of the new season on Saturday, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0, but remain stranded at the bottom of the league.
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