MADRID, June 26 A member of the Qatari royal
family, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nassar Al-Thani, has agreed to buy
Malaga soccer club for 36 million euros ($48.30 million), the
Spanish team said on their website (www.malagafc.es).
Al-Thani will purchase the majority stakeholding owned by
president Fernando Sanz, a former player who has run the La Liga
club for four years and will continue to be linked to them in an
"The agreement has already been notified to the
(government-run) Spanish Sports Council and will be completed
shortly, given that said public body has provided its verbal
approval of the agreement's terms and conditions," the club
Al-Thani was quoted as saying: "Our goal is to help Malaga
take the necessary steps to consolidate its presence in La Liga
and to reinforce the excitement and hopes of the supporters."
The sheikh, 43, manages a business empire based in the
United Arab Emirates which employs around 3,000 people and
operates in more than 30 countries.
His interests include hotel chains, shopping centres, mobile
phone companies and car dealerships. Al-Thani is also
vice-chairman and shareholder of the Doha Bank.
A business associate of the sheikh, Abdullah Ghubn, told a
news conference on Friday that the negotiation process had
lasted four or five months.
"In principle the agreement is to take over the shares owned
by Fernando Sanz for a price of 36 million euros that includes
the club's debt," Ghubn said.
"We are aware this is the first time an investor from this
region has come to Spain and he wants to set a good example. We
want to consolidate the club in La Liga and afterwards to aspire
to higher things."
Ghubn said coach Juan Ramon Lopez Muniz would not continue
in his post and that a replacement would be announced shortly.
Malaga are a modest club whose highest league finish was
seventh. They have been a 'yo-yo' side over the last 30 years
and returned to the top flight again in 2008.
They avoided relegation on the last day of the season in
May, to finish 17th in the standings.
(Writing by Mark Elkington; Editing by Clare Fallon; To query
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