An investment group in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates has sealed a deal to buy English football club Manchester City, an online business news service said Monday.
“Premier League football club Manchester City has been taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG),” Arabian Business said.
It said the deal was struck Sunday night between the club's former owner and ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and ADUG but did not specify how much the Abu Dhabi group had paid.
“We will release details later, but this is a great event for both the club and Abu Dhabi,” it quoted Sulaiman al-Fahim, an ADUG board member who will represent the group on the Manchester City board, as saying.
“Our goal is very simple — to make Manchester City the biggest club in the Premier League, and to begin with, to finish in the top four this season,” said Fahim, who led negotiations for the deal.
City admitted on Monday that they were in talks with ADUG but stopped short of confirming the sale had been completed.
“Manchester City Football Club can confirm that there are discussions ongoing with the Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited with regards to investing in the football club,” a statement on the club's website said.
“A further statement will be released by the Club when it is appropriate to do so.”
Fahim said ADUG will solve all the club's problems and clear any pending payments, and will comprehensively support the club by bringing in some of the best football players in the world.
The ousted Thai premier, who faces legal problems at home related to corruption charges, will stay on as honorary president of the club without any administrative responsibilities, according to Arabian Business.
Negotiations began three weeks ago, and were completed on Sunday night in the UAE, it said.
Abu Dhabi, the UAE's wealthiest emirate which also serves as its capital, is vying to become a cultural and sports destination in the Gulf region.
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