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Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 14:46 UK

Saudi completes Pompey takeover

Hassan Yebda (left) celebrates scoring against Wolves with Jamie O"Hara (centre) and Aruna Dindane
Portsmouth claimed their first win of the season against Wolves on Saturday

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.

Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie has confirmed money will be available for new players in the January transfer window.

"Ali is a passionate follower of the Premier League and wants Portsmouth to remain in the best league in world football," he said.

"There will be money to spend in January to make sure we do not lose our coveted place in the top flight."

Pompey owner wanted control in August, says his lawyer

The club statement added: "Contracts have been signed between the parties to enable funds to be released to pay the players and executive board on Tuesday."

Al-Faraj's lawyer Mark Jacob added: "There is going to be substantial investment.

"We were ready to invest and push things forward six weeks ago so that was a missed opportunity. However, there will be funds available in January to ensure we are not at the wrong end of the table come the end of the season."

Before the recent turmoil Portsmouth had been planning a new stadium and training ground, and Jacob insisted that was still the case.

"Both are part of our plans but the most important thing after this difficult period for everyone at the club is to achieve some stability," he said.

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.

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 will join the club's board of directors, along with associate Jacob, while 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."

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."

606: DEBATE

For his part, Al Fahim has defended his tenure at Portsmouth by saying the £50m he raised is still available to the club if they want it.

"The club will always have the ability to use the finances I have created and brought in, which will be ready by the third or fourth week of October," he told BBC Radio Solent.

He also claims that he invested £5m in the club in August to prevent it going into administration.

"I have invested in the club in August where I saved the club from going into administration by the end of the month," he said.

"When they sold 90% of the club to Al Faraj's consortium, I did not ask for a penny to pay me back - I asked him to invest more in the club."

The scale of 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.



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see also
Wolves 0-1 Portsmouth
03 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Hart gives players salary pledge
03 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth owner 'faces surgery'
02 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Storrie to remain at Portsmouth
27 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth owner 'to inject 50m'
25 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth
Al Fahim completes Pompey buy-out
26 Aug 09 |  Portsmouth
Pompey 'just avoided going under'
02 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth


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