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Portsmouth bought again


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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.

It's certainly given me many, many sleepless nights

Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie on the recent problems at the club

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, 50, will join the club's board of directors, along with associate Mark Jacob, while Peter Storrie will remain as chief executive.

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.

Storrie told BBC Radio Four: "He is very similar to (former owner) Alexandre Gaydamak in many ways in that he owns the club but he wants to sit in the background and let the officials of the club run it.

"He is not going to be one of those that's going to be out front."

The club also claims that Al Faraj has already passed the Premier League's fit and proper person's test.

"He passed it a month or so ago when we first looked to put this deal together," added Storrie.

"The Premier League were very happy with him then, they did their checks on him and everything I know about the guy - he seems a fit and proper person."

Al Fahim told the Guardian that Al Faraj is the only member of the consortium that he knows, but has not met him in person.

"I am happy," he added. "It was my goal to have shareholders and I have a minority and I'm still chairman for two seasons."

Storrie insisted: "(The consortium) are very keen on football and appear to have considerable assets and finance behind them and immediately they are putting funds in the club.

"It's a very different situation to what the last couple of months have been.

"It's certainly given me many, many sleepless nights but to be fair to Sulaiman, he genuinely thought the finances were there, and they may well be there, but it was a question of timescale and basically the club could not wait any longer for the finance."

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.

The club 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."

The victory over Wolves 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.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/t...uth/8289279.stm

Maybe they'll kick on now after Saturday's win.

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Apparently this was the original guy the CEO wanted to buy the club but the Russian owners wouldn't sell to him. No surprise that he's stepped in now but it can't be doing the stability of the club any good. I think they're still favourites to go down but bear in mind at this point last season Tottenham only had 2 points so it's not a hopeless situation.

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