The Premier League is preparing to use Sulaiman Al-Fahim
's takeover of Portsmouth as a test case for its strengthened fit-and-proper-persons rule, a policy due for introduction
next week. Al-Fahim, a charismatic Dubai property investor, declared that he would conduct the takeover using his "Al Fahim Asia Associates" instrument, which he described as being
"structured like a closed-end private equity fund." A source with knowledge of the deal said Al-Fahim owns the fund but that it had numerous investors who had pledged their money on
condition of anonymity.
Such anonymity, however, might not provide the transparency that the league now requires. "We should know and the public should know and the fans should
know who owns their club," league chief executive Richard Scudamore
said. The league's new rules will demand that shareholders details get exposed to the league and the
public. Al-Fahim's attempted takeover of Portsmouth will be the first to fall under the policy.
The investigation might take weeks or months. The club believes it will take one to
two weeks but a spokesman for Al-Fahim indicated it would not be completed until July. Even in the best-case scenario it will take Portsmouth past the opening of the transfer window on June 1,
potentially obstructing the club's ability to stir up the transfer market.
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