Saudi completes Pompey takeover

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Saudi business tycoon Ali Al Faraj has completed his takeover of Portsmouth, acquiring a 90% stake in the club.

Sulaiman Al Fahim retains a 10% share, just six weeks after completing his own buy-out of the Premier League outfit.

“The takeover will ensure Portsmouth’s future is safe and will bring financial stability,” read a club statement.

“Contracts have been signed between the parties to enable funds to be released to pay the players and executive board on Tuesday.”

Al Fahim’s decision to sell the bulk of his shares to Falcondrone Limited, a company owned by Al Faraj, was announced late on Monday night.

Mr Al Faraj is very supportive of the club’s plans for a new training ground and the development of Fratton Park
Club statement

Lawyers for both camps had spent most of the day locked in discussions about the future of the club after Al Fahim said he was willing to relinquish full control in the event of a suitable offer.

Under the terms of the deal, Al Faraj will join the club’s board of directors, along with associate Mark Jacob, while Peter Storrie will remain as chief executive.

Jacob said Al Faraj was “absolutely delighted” to be the new owner.

“He is looking forward to working with the team and the players,” Jacob told Sky Sports News. “He is a huge supporter of the English Premiership and he’s delighted to get involved.”

Al Fahim, who only took over the club in August, becomes non-executive chairman until at least the end of the 2010/2011 season.

According to Portsmouth’s official club website, Al Faraj is a 40-year-old respected property investor based in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

It also claims that he has already passed the Premier League’s fit and proper person’s test.

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The statement continued: “The club will undergo refinancing in order to grow and develop every part of the business.

“Mr Al Faraj is very supportive of the club’s plans for a new training ground and the development of Fratton Park.”

Portsmouth’s financial problems were exposed last week when the club admitted that players had not received their pay in the build-up to Saturday’s 1-0 win at Wolves.

That victory was Pompey’s first of the Premier League campaign, but Paul Hart’s side remain bottom of the table with just three points after losing their opening seven matches.

Their next game is on 17 October, when they entertain Tottenham, who lie third behind Chelsea and Manchester United.

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