JEDDAH: RIMA AL-MUKHTAR
Published — Saturday 8 December 2012
Last update 8 December 2012 12:11 pm
Saudi businessmen and a former candidate for the presidency of the Itihad Saudi football team are negotiations to buy a Spanish football club to boost an increased Saudi presence in the sports investment field.
Maher Bondakji, chairman of the board of directors of Al-Marabie, told Arab News that he is in negotiation along with other Saudi businessmen to purchase 25 percent to 45 percent of a Spanish football club.
“Privatization is the reason why we chose to buy the European club and not a local club,” said Bondakji to Arab News. “Europe and Spain, to be specific, makes it easier for the public to understand sports investment and this is what we miss here. If privatization became available in the Kingdom we might consider selling our share and invest locally,” he added.
The Saudi businessmen’s aim to buy into more European football clubs if this worked according to plan for the next couple of years, according to Bondakji.
Bondakji declined to disclose the name of the club.
“The deal will be finalized in the next two months and I am optimistic. We are holding several meetings at this time with the Spanish football club management and I believe this would be a great jump for the sports investments,” he said. “We will also hold a press conference soon to reveal the name of the club, the details of the deal, stocks and the reasons why we chose this specific club.”
The press conference will also include discussions about the sport investment market in Saudi Arabia, according to Bondakji.