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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 16:45 UK

Al Fahim's Pompey bid 'on course'

By Matt Slater and Sam Lyon

Sulaiman Al Fahim
Al Fahim expects his Portsmouth takeover to be completed smoothly

Sulaiman Al Fahim's planned takeover of Portsmouth is on course and firmly within Premier League rules, according to the businessman's spokesman.

Reports had suggested the deal is "in limbo" amid questions surrounding Al Fahim's ownership suitability.

But, with due diligence on the deal continuing, Ivo Ilic Gabara told BBC Sport: "The deal is far from in limbo.

"Our enthusiasm and commitment has, if anything, increased. Any Premier League requirements can - and will - be met."

United Arab Emirates businessman Al Fahim had a reported £60m bid for the south-coast club accepted in May, and spoke of his "excitement" about taking over the Premier League outfit.

But a series of developments appeared to cast a shadow over the takeover.

First Portsmouth were forced to deny that former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra was part of the bid, and then, similarly, that Premier League chairman Dave Richards was involved.

And the fact that Al Fahim acted as the initial figurehead of the Abu Dhabi United Group that took control of Manchester City from Thaksin last year placed increased concern over the deal.

Premier League rules forbid two clubs being owned by the same controlling interest, and press reports suggested that Hydra Properties - a company which boasts Al Fahim as chief executive - is part of a wider group, the Royal Group, which is chaired by Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's brother.


This, allied to initial reports suggesting Al Fahim's bid was being supported by anonymous heavyweight investors, prompted speculation that the takeover bid was doomed.

However, Gabara said that not only does Al Fahim not own a single share in Hydra Properties, but also that the takeover is being led by Al Fahim Asia Associates, the sole vehicle of the UAE businessman.

"Recent media coverage has been misleading," he said. "The buying party has always been Al Fahim Asia Associates - which is fully owned by Al Fahim.

"He has always been fully aware of the disclosure requirements of the Premier League and its fit and proper person test, and has always intended to comply fully with these rules.

"He knew this transaction would attract considerable media interest and was always ready to withstand the scrutiny.

Clearly it is in everybody's interests that the deal goes through as soon as possible

Sulaiman Al Fahim's spokesman Ivo Ilic Gabara

"If there are any investors who, as a result of this deal, acquire 10% or more of Portsmouth Football Club, they'll be fully disclosed to the Premier League and made public."

BBC Sport understands that Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie, who is conducting takeover negotiations on behalf of current owner Alexandre Gaydamak, has travelled to Israel to update the Russian on progress made.

He is also expected to discuss the future of the playing squad and the club's managerial situation.

Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch have both been linked with big-money moves away from Fratton Park, while Paul Hart's short-term contract as caretaker manager expired at the end of the season.

These matters are not expected to be settled until Al Fahim's takeover is complete, though, and Gabrera admits the sooner the club purchase is done and dusted, the better.

"As far as the due diligence is concerned, we have never committed ourselves to the beginning of July," he said. "We are saying it will be completed in the course of July.

"However, clearly it is in everybody's interests that the deal goes through as soon as possible."

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see also
Crouch quotes disappoint Storrie
15 Jun 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth deny Shinawatra link
13 Jun 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth expect to lose Johnson
13 Jun 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth agree to takeover bid
27 May 09 |  Portsmouth
Hart backed to get full-time job
18 May 09 |  Portsmouth
Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra
26 Feb 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Man City takeover close - Hughes
17 Sep 08 |  Man City
Pompey pay for chasing the dream
11 Feb 09 |  Portsmouth
Gaydamak ready to sell Portsmouth
07 Dec 08 |  Portsmouth
Gaydamak sets out Pompey strategy
17 May 08 |  FA Cup
Gaydamak buys out Pompey chairman
19 Jul 06 |  Portsmouth
Arab group agrees Man City deal
01 Sep 08 |  Man City

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