New owner Sulaiman to sell his majority holding in Pompey

LONDON: Portsmouth’s new owner Sulaiman al-Fahim is to sell the majority of his holding in the Premier League club to a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families, he was quoted as saying yesterday.

The Observer said Al-Fahim told the newspaper that a deal with Ali al-Faraj, a property investor with a personal holding in petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), would be completed within days.

Speaking from Dubai, Al-Fahim told the paper: “I think by Monday or Tuesday he will be on board. His consortium will be a major shareholder. And I will keep a minority.”

Al-Fahim is recovering from a kidney stones operation on Friday which meant he had to postpone a meeting with the consortium scheduled for yesterday in London, The Observer said.

“Due to my situation I will need rest and meet them on Monday,” Al-Fahim said. “My lawyers are in discussion with the consortium lawyers.”

Portsmouth’s precarious financial position was underlined on Thursday when the league’s bottom club announced the first-team squad and executive board had not been paid.

Problems have arisen due to delays in refinancing the club by Al-Fahim, who completed his protracted takeover in August.

Last week the owner said he planned to inject £50mil into the south-coast club to stabilise their financial position.

Al-Fahim told yesterday’s The Observer this finance would still be available, saying: “Still the club can have access to my new funding which will be ready in a few weeks — the £50mil announced.” — Reuters

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