Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:33 pm (KSA) 09:33 am (GMT)

UAE group buys UK football team Manchester City

Manchester City celebrate after defeating Danish team in the UEFA Cup (File)
Manchester City celebrate after defeating Danish team in the UEFA Cup (File)

Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) has concluded a deal to buy Premier League club Manchester City, Arabian Business magazine reported Monday.

The deal was struck Sunday night between the club's former owner and ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, although ADUG did not specify how much the Abu Dhabi group had paid.

"We will release details later, but this is a great event for both the club and Abu Dhabi," the magazine quoted Sulaiman al-Fahim, an ADUG board member who will represent the group on the Manchester City board, as saying.

"Our goal is very simple -- to make Manchester City the biggest club in the Premier League, and to begin with, to finish in the top four this season," said Fahim, who led negotiations for the deal.

City admitted on Monday that they were in talks with ADUG but stopped short of confirming the sale had been completed.

"Manchester City Football Club can confirm that there are discussions ongoing with the Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited with regards to investing in the football club," a statement on the club's website said.

Fahim said ADUG will solve all the club's problems and clear any pending payments, and will comprehensively support the club by bringing in some of the best football players in the world.

The ousted Thai premier, who faces legal problems at home related to corruption charges, will stay on as honorary president of the club without any administrative responsibilities, according to Arabian Business.

Thaksin took charge at City in July 2007 but his spell as owner looks to be at an end.

He had big plans for the club but his hopes have been dashed amid legal wrangling in his own country.

Thaksin has been looking to sell City for several weeks after his assets were frozen as a result of corruption and fraud charges in Thailand and finally appears to have found a buyer.

The situation for Thaksin worsened further still recently when his wife, Pojaman, was sentenced to three years in prison on a variety of corruption charges, although she has since been released on bail.

Thaksin himself is facing similar charges but flew to England last month, on the day he was due to make a court appearance in Thailand.

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