x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Notts County reveal their mystery backers

The League Two club confirm that the Shafi and Hyat families are primary backers in Qadbak Investments.

Two months after Munto Finance Limited agreed a multi-million pound deal to buy Notts County, the ownership mystery surrounding the world's oldest professional club has finally begun to unravel. With the result of the English Football League's "fit and proper persons test" on County's owners due on October 8, the League Two club's confirmation that the Shafi and Hyat families are primary backers in Qadbak Investments - a Swiss-based consortium which manages the Munto acquisitions vehicle - should end months of uncertainty.

"I can confirm that the families have a significant holding in Qadbak and are very pleased with the diversified range of assets we have invested in," said Anwar Shafi in a statement released by County. "But we are a private business and do not wish to comment any further." With the two families reportedly overseeing extensive business interests in the Middle East, Asia, North America and Europe, County, they hope that credibility convinces the League to give the green light to Munto's takeover.

"Despite giving the Football League every possible answer, they have yet to publicly confirm their approval," read the statement. "We hope this statement will speed that process considerably." The County chief executive Peter Trembling, the public face in Munto's revolution, dismissed speculation that the takeover had ever been in doubt. The club's biggest signing, former England defender Sol Campbell, walked out on his contract last week after only one game, citing broken promises about further arrivals.

"There is no investigation," Trembling told the BBC. "We've completed the "fit and proper persons test", which we have to do quite rightly for the directors of the football club. "Of course they have asked more questions because it is unusual circumstances - a private overseas investment trust - and they want to know more about that," he added, only days after admitting he did not know all of the individuals in the trust.

emegson@thenational.ae