x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Getafe deal done, says Dubai group

The sale of Spanish football club Getafe CF to a Dubai-based investment firm is a done deal, officials say.

Spanish club Getafe president Angel Torres, Royal Emirates Group of Companies managing director Kaiser Rafiq and Dubai's Sheikh Butti bin Suhail al Maktoum sign purchase agreements.
Spanish club Getafe president Angel Torres, Royal Emirates Group of Companies managing director Kaiser Rafiq and Dubai's Sheikh Butti bin Suhail al Maktoum sign purchase agreements.

ABU DHABI // The Dubai-based company behind a bid to buy Spanish football team Getafe CF yesterday said the deal was completed.

Official confirmation that the Royal Emirates Group had successfully purchased the La Liga side is expected to be made today at a press conference in Spain.

Reports at the weekend suggested the sale between Getafe and Royal Emirates Group, a company chaired by Sheikh Butti bin Suhail Al Maktoum, was not final, despite a highly publicised ceremony at the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai on Thursday.

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But Kaiser Rafiq, the managing director of Royal Emirates Group, yesterday "reaffirmed the Group's purchase of Getafe as announced".

Confusion about the status of the sale came after Angel Torres, the president of Madrid-based Getafe, said last week that Getafe had "not yet been sold", according to Agence France-Presse news agency. Mr Torres said he was in the Emirates "looking for sponsors".

"We signed a series of agreements and protocols. No one should doubt Angel Torres. Getafe has not yet been sold," he was quoted as saying by AFP.

"First, I have to inform the board of all the things that were done, then I will give a news conference."

Mr Rafiq said Mr Torres had been misquoted in the media and that a "100 per cent Getafe share purchase agreement" was signed last week.

"Mr Angel Torres confirmed to me during a telephone call that he only meant to say that he will announce the sale of the club during the press conference, and he has been offered many sponsorships from major corporations in Dubai, but media took the words out of context and published the wrong story," Mr Rafiq said. Representatives from Getafe could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Royal Emirates Group, which is not well known in the business world, said during last week's signing event that Getafe was bought for "between €70 million (Dh374m) and €90m".

Mr Rafiq said then that the company was a private holding company and "no funding was coming from the ruling family - this is strictly a private business deal".

Getafe CF will add the name "Team Dubai" to its crest on team shirts, stadium and other merchandise, it was announced at Thursday's news conference.

Officials said players from the Middle East may be added to the team squad.

Mr Torres is expected to make the announcement of the sale at a press conference today at 8pm local time.

Harry Tregoning, a spokesman for Royal Emirates Group, said the company did not plan to make any further statements.

"I imagine the next press release you'll get from us will detail additional plans for the future," Mr Tregoning said.

jthomas@thenational.ae