x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Portsmouth price still stalling deal

The UAE-based business group hoping to buy the English Premier League team say they are doing all they can to push the deal through.

The UAE-based business group hoping to buy English Premier League team Portsmouth say they are doing all they can to push the deal through but still have to get over the hurdle of agreeing a price for the club. Sulaiman al Fahim, the Abu Dhabi businessman who is leading the takeover bid, was yesterday reported to have agreed a figure with the owners and was just waiting for confirmation from the Football Association that he has passed the fit-and-proper persons test.

However, Ivo Ilic Gabara, Fahim's spokesman, refuted reports of the takeover being completed by July 24, saying that "both parties are working extremely hard to make this happen as soon as possible. No date has yet been set for the takeover and no price has been set". He added: "We don't have and cannot give any information regarding the details of the takeover because it is not yet official. "In terms of manager and players we cannot say anything as we don't own the club yet."

According to Mr Gabara, the group have made the final commercial assessment of the club following the completion of due diligence and is waiting to take the next step. When Fahim's Portsmouth bid was first made public, the club's chairman in-waiting divulged plans to extend 20,000-seat Fratton Park's capacity by a third and also recruit at least one Emirati player to their ranks. "I am looking to buy one UAE player for the team, although our main focus will be on the English players. The team havesome good talent," he said at the time.

With UAE star Ismail Matar under contract to Abu Dhabi side Al Wahda, Al Ahli striker Ahmed Khalil - the 2009 AFC Young Player of the Year who shone as UAE Under 19 side won the U19 Asian Cup - is rumoured to be on Al Fahim's radar. sports@thenational.ae