Egyptian billionaire acquires stake in English football club

Nassef Sawiris is ranked 251st in the world's rich list. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018
0

Egyptian billionaire acquires stake in English football club

LONDON: Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris is behind a bid to invest in English football club Aston Villa, the club announced on Friday.
Sawiris is ranked at No.251 in the world’s rich list and is estimated to be worth $4 billion by Forbes. He has joined forces with Wes Edens, the co-owner of NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, to make a “significant investment” in Villa, the Midlands club who play in the second tier of English football.

They have won the league title seven times and the European Cup in 1982, but have fallen on hards times in recent years, ending a sequence of 105 seasons in the top tier of English football with relegation in 2016.

Villa owner Tony Xia spent the close-season searching for fresh investment to plug a reported £40 million ($52.45 million) deficit after Villa were beaten by Fulham in the Championship playoff final last season.
He had entered talks to hand over some of his control of Villa to Sawiris and Edens' company NSWE in exchange for a cash injection.

“I am extremely pleased to have formed a strategic partnership with Nassef and Wes,” Villa owner Dr. Xia said in a club statement. “We have a common goal of delivering future success for Aston Villa and I look forward to working together to achieve this aim.
“To have come so close to achieving promotion last season was a humbling experience. In finding such strong partners as Nassef and Wes we’re gearing up to fight again and bring back the success that this Club deserves and we all so want to provide it with.”
One of three brothers, Nassef’s family’s net worth is put at $36 billion by Forbes and he is said to be the richest Egyptian in the world. He built his fortune in telecom and has a stake in Adidas.


Real Madrid can still win title, claims Santiago Solari

Updated 17 February 2019
0

Real Madrid can still win title, claims Santiago Solari

  • Defeat leaves Real in third, nine points behind arch-rivals Barcelona.
  • Girona had not won in the league since November.

LONDON: Santiago Solari insisted Real Madrid could still win the La Liga title despite a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Girona.
The capital club were coming off a five-match winning streak, but were not able to get past their relegation-threatened rivals at the Bernabeu, conceding twice in the second half after taking a 1-0 half-time lead.
Girona had not won in 13 matches in all competitions and were coming off six straight losses. The Catalan club had not won in the league since November and had entered the weekend one point from the relegation zone. So to say this was a shock would be understating the case, Real were on the up, and this was supposed to be an easy win to aid their slim title hopes and add to the momentum of their good 2019 form.
But Solari — clearly a “glass half full” man — claimed Real’s title charge was far from over. Asked if the title was lost, the Argentine, who took over the asked Julen Lopetegui in October, said: “Not at all, not at all, next week there is another match, our rivals, too. All the matches are difficult, as Girona have shown today, we have to keep winning to try to cut the gap.
“This is football and there is always a rival, in this case Girona, who played well.
“In the second half there was a lot of energy. Girona were forceful when they attacked and we lacked clarity. The fatigue is not only physical, it is mental, concentration. We come from a major bustle, many games with good results, and that may have happened to us at the energy level in the second half. It’s likely.”
The surprise defeat dropped Madrid to third place and left them nine points behind Barcelona, who edged Valladolid 1-0 on Saturday with a penalty kick converted by Lionel Messi. The result at the Nou Camp ended a three-game winless run for the Girona neighbors in all competitions.
Madrid had won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, with the only setback a 1-1 draw at Barca in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. They had cut Barcelona’s lead from 10 points to six in recent rounds after seeing their arch-rivals go through a slump.
Solari made some changes to the starting lineup, leaving Vinicius Junior and Gareth Bale on the bench after they started midweek in the 2-1 win at Ajax in the Champions League second round clash.
Casemiro opened the scoring with a firm header from near the penalty spot in the 25th minute after a cross by Toni Kroos, and Girona equalized with a penalty kick converted by Cristhian Stuani in the 65th after a handball by Sergio Ramos inside the area.
Girona had a golden chance to equalize about five minutes before the penalty, when Aleix Garcia’s close-range shot went over the crossbar. The visitors moved in front with a 75th-minute header by Portu after Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois initially saved a shot by Anthony Lozano.
Portu had hit the post a few minutes earlier with a booming shot from inside the area.
Solari put on Vinicius Junior and Bale in the second half, but they were unable to save Real. Courtois made it to the area in a last-gasp attempt, but could not get enough on his header, sending the ball just wide of the post.
As if to emphasize the dire day, Ramos was sent off in 90th minute after receiving a second yellow card.