x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Al Fahim insists he made no profit from sale of Portsmouth to Saudi

Having sold 90 per cent of his stake in Premier League strugglers Portsmouth, Sulaiman al Fahim has revealed he did not personally profit from buy-out negotiations with the club's new owner, the Saudi businessman Ali al Faraj.

Having sold 90 per cent of his stake in Premier League strugglers Portsmouth, Sulaiman al Fahim has revealed he did not personally profit from buy-out negotiations with the club's new owner, the Saudi businessman Ali al Faraj. Portsmouth's former chairman revealed the club's perilous financial position had forced him to gift the club to al Faraj's take-over vehicle, Falcondrome Limited, in exchange for instant investment to safeguard its immediate future.

"To say I sold my 90 per cent shares for one pound would actually be an exaggeration. It was for zero ... I should make clear that I have not made any financial gain from this," the businessman - newly installed as the club's non-executive chairman - told Arabian Business. According to a club statement, al Faraj's take-over will: "Ensure Ports-mouth's future is safe and bring financial stability." The club's failure to pay its playing and board-level employees last week, the statement added, will not be repeated.

"Contracts have been signed between the parties to enable funds to be released to pay the players and executive board." Meanwhile, George Gillett, co-owner of Liverpool - another Premier League team linked with a Saudi-funded buy-out in recent weeks - has blamed manager Rafa Benitez for failing to end the club's 20-year wait for domestic league honours. "In the last 18 months, we have invested £128 million (Dh751m) on top of what has come in - more money than our competitors," Gillett reportedly told a representative of the fans' group Spirit of Shankly. "That means it should be getting better. Now if it's not getting better, it's not Gillett and [fellow co-owner, Tom] Hicks; it's the manager; it's the scouting. You have to make sure you balance out your analysis. There was plenty of money, so if you have any complaints, take a look at the [transfer] ins and outs."

Meanwhile, former Liverpool winger Boudewijn Zenden, 33, has joined Sunderland on trial. Zenden, capped 54-times by Holland, is a free agent after leaving Olympique Marseille at the end of last season. Elsewhere, four consecutive defeats have seen former Italy manager Roberto Donadoni sacked as Napoli coach. Ex-Sampdoria boss Walter Mazzarri was named as his successor yesterday. "It was a necessary decision," said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

In France, police - prompted by an agent's complaint over alleged transfer irregularities - raided the Marseille headquarter's earlier this week, seizing documents relating to Franck Ribery's switch from Galatasaray to the club in 2005. emegson@thenational.ae