x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Al Fahim completes Portsmouth deal

Sulaiman al Fahim completes the purchase of the English Premier League football Club Portsmouth FC, his spokesman says.

Sulaiman al Fahim is expected to host a press conference in the coming days to provide further details of the purchase.
Sulaiman al Fahim is expected to host a press conference in the coming days to provide further details of the purchase.

ABU DHABI // The business tycoon Sulaiman al Fahim has completed his purchase of Portsmouth Football Club of the English Premier League, his spokesman said today. The protracted deal is believed to have been concluded earlier this week for an undisclosed sum. Mr al Fahim, who built a real estate empire through his Hydra Properties company, is the current chairman of the club and is expected to host a press conference in the UK in the coming days to provide further details of the purchase. His spokesman, Ivo Ilic Gabara, said the contracts had been signed but refused to give details of exactly when the transaction was completed or the purchase price. A Portsmouth FC spokesman confirmed the purchase had been completed. A statement released on behalf of Mr al Fahim said: "Devondale Investments, the current owner of Portsmouth FC, and Al Fahim Asia Associates Ltd (AAA), a company fully owned by Sulaiman al Fahim, chairman of the board of Portsmouth FC, have reached an agreement whereby AAA has become the new sole owner of the club. "Sulaiman al Fahim welcomed this agreement and looks forward to helping the club build on its impressive history and achieve new successes in the Premier League. "The chairman of the club would like to extend his gratitude to the players, staff and supporters of Portsmouth FC who have shown an extraordinary level of commitment and loyalty to this great club." Speculation mounted earlier this month that the deal was close to collapse, with the club's manager Paul Hart telling a fans' forum that he did not believe the purchase would go through. Mr al Fahim has been seeking financing since he announced his plan to purchase Portsmouth in May. Amid growing concerns that the deal would fall through at the 11th hour, a new consortium emerged, believed to be headed by the Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie. A third party, also from the Middle East, is also said to have approached the club regarding a buyout. Fans were relieved at the news that Mr al Fahim's purchase had been completed. "It's about time," said Nathan Hunt, 33, a lifelong fan of the club who now lives in Dubai. "I am pleased the waiting is over but disappointed that we have lost so many players in the last few weeks. "The Portsmouth fan base are going to be happy that everything has gone through and has been finalised. It's just a shame that it doesn't look like he is going to spend the kind of money on the club that everyone had hoped." Craig Johnston, 25, also from Portsmouth and who also lives in Dubai, said he hoped the completion of the deal might trigger a buying frenzy ahead of the closure of the player transfer window at 8pm next Tuesday. "Fans are pretty despondent; we have got no players left," he said. "We need about four or five purchases in the next few days, otherwise by next season, he's going to end up being the chairman of a first division club." chamilton@thenational.ae