UAE group takes over Manchester City football club

September 1st, 2008 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 1 (IANS) English Premier League football club Manchester City has been taken over by a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company, according to reports here.The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) has taken over the club, one of the oldest in England, after a deal struck late Sunday night with former Thailand prime minister and the club’s major holder since 2007 Thaksin Shinawatra, according to a report on the online edition of the Arabian Business magazine.

“We will release details later, but this is a great event for both the club and Abu Dhabi,” Sulaiman Al Fahim chief executive of real estate-major Hydra Properties, told Arabian Business. ADUG is a subsidiary of Hydra Properties.

“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,” Al Fahim, who will represent ADUG in the club’s new board, was quoted as saying.

He added the new owners would solve all problems currently faced by the club including clearing of pending financial dues.

According to the report, the club’s future had been uncertain as Shinawatra was facing a series of legal problems back home in Thailand.

The club’s holding company Manchester City is a private limited company.

In the summer of 2007, its major shareholders agreed to sell their holdings to UK Sports Investments Ltd (UKSIL), a company controlled by Shinawatra.

UKSIL then made a formal offer to buy the shares held by several thousand small shareholders.

According Arabian Business, negotiations between ADUG and Shinawatra had been going for the last three weeks and concluded with the deal struck Sunday night.

Apart from Al Fahim and Shinawatra, Khalid Kadfour Al-Muhairy, the head of the Emirates Group for advocate and legal consultants, was also present during the signing of the deal.

Al Fahim said that ADUG was keen “to develop ways to provide support and care for various sports activities to help build and develop a new generation of (a) young state, which represents the real wealth and the future of this nation and the cornerstone for building the future of our civilization”.

“As embodied in our mission to open new horizons in all kinds of sports, it will enable them to enjoy healthy body and mind, thanks to the lessons we have learned from the wise leadership in Abu Dhabi,” he said.

Al Fahim’s involvement with sports, particularly football, is not new.

Apart from sponsoring several sporting events, he is building, through Hydra Properties, a new football academy in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Italian Serie A club Inter Milan.

The Manchester City Football Club was formed in 1880 under name St. Marks (West Gorton).

The club came to be known as Ardwick A.F.C. in 1887 before finally changing its name to Manchester City F.C. in 1894.

The club has won the League Championship twice, the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice and the European Cup Winners Cup once.

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