Saudi Arabian businessman Ali Al-Faraj has completed his takeover of English Premier League club Portsmouth, the club said late Monday.
The club confirmed on their website former owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim had sold 90 percent of the shares to Falcondrone Limited, a company owned by Al-Faraj, in a move freeing up funds to pay players and executives. A statement on the Portsmouth website, www.portsmouthfc.co.uk, said: "The takeover will ensure Portsmouth Football Club's future is safe and will bring financial stability."
Al-Fahim only took over the club himself in August, but had said he would relinquish full control in the event of a suitable offer from Al-Faraj. Ivo Gabara, a spokesman for Al-Fahim, had said earlier: "Sulaiman's lawyers are engaged in talks with lawyers for Al-Faraj. He expects an offer to be made today (Monday). In the best interests of the club he is willing to forego full ownership and if or when an offer is on the table, it will be considered on its merits."
Al-Fahim has been attempting to refinance the club after banks demanded the television receipts and profits from the last transfer window. Portsmouth chief executive Pete Storrie revealed last weekend "there is no money left" and that 30 per cent of the £50 million package Al-Fahim had pledged to raise is due by mid-October.
Al-Faraj is reported to have been involved in a consortium brought together by Storrie that was beaten by Al-Fahim to the initial takeover. Storrie brought Al-Faraj back to the table when doubts began to grow that Al-Fahim would be able to raise the required funding in time. Al-Faraj was reported to have supplied the £5 million bridging loan needed last week to pay the wages of club staff.
Storrie said: "It was imperative that something had to be done to safeguard the future of this club," adding the club were "completely skint." Portsmouth are also enduring tough times on the field. They prop up the Premier League after losing their opening seven matches - the worst start by an English top-flight club for 79 years - but they did get their first victory at Wolverhampton on Saturday as Hassan Yebda's goal sealed a 1-0 win.