Manchester City Sold To Abu Dhabi Group

The 'Abu Dhabi Group for Development and Investment' (ADUG) have reportedly reached a deal with erstwhile owner Thaksin Shinawatra to take over Manchester City FC...
According to a spokesperson for the United Arab Emirates city, Abu Dhabi will take over the club imminently after striking a deal late on Sunday night.

Dr. Sulaiman Al Fahim, who will take a seat on the board, told ArabianBusiness.com, "We will release details later, but this is a great event for both the club and Abu Dhabi.

"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."

Thaksin Shinawatra, the former owner, is said to be in line for an "honorary" presidential position - one of a figurehead that brings with it no powers whatsoever.

According to Al Fahim, ADUG's takeover terms include clearing any pending debts and also strengthening the squad with "top four" players.

Shinawatra's reign as owner, then, comes to an end amidst controversy. The former Thai Prime Minister is embroiled in legal battles in his home country, with rumours of financial difficulties abounding.

City have confirmed that Shinawatra is to sell up, with Dr Khalid Kadfour Al-Muhairy of the Emirates Group overseeing the handover between Al Fahim and Shinawatra.

Economical

ADUG stated that they bought into the club for both sporting and economic reasons:

"We in Abu Dhabi United Company for Development and Investment are keen to develop ways to provide support and care for various sports activities to help build and develop a new generation of young State, which represents the real wealth and the future of this nation and the cornerstone for building the future of our civilisation," he said.

"As embodied in our mission to open new horizons in all kinds of sports, it will enable them to enjoy healthy body and mind, thanks to the lessons we have learned from the wise leadership in Abu Dhabi.

"We will adopt marketing plans that reflect positively on the club and the company from investments in all sectors of television marketing and purchasing of the stars players, as well as development of infrastructure facilities at the club."

Abu Dhabi is already involved in football, being part-owners of a youth academy that's run in partnership with Internazionale of Milan.

While their promises for City are huge, it remains to be seen how they deal with the club that Shinawatra has left behind.

Statements

Manchester City have moved to clarify developments this morning, stating that while a move has not officially been agreed, it is underway. From the official club website:

"Manchester City can confirm that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) and Manchester City Football Club Limited.

A period of due diligence for all parties, including the FA Premier League has now been entered.

A further statement will be released by the Club in due course."


In addition to the due diligence period, as part of Premier League rules incoming owners must undergo a 'fit and proper persons' test - one that Shinawatra passed.

Steve Michaels, Goal.com