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Middle East set to take over Addicks?

PUBLISHED: 18:14 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:13 12 August 2010

A FOOTBALL club could soon be among the sport s big spenders after a Middle-Eastern company tabled plans for a sensational takeover bid. Mohammed Al Hashimi, the executive chairman of Dubai-based Zabeel Investments, has made an indicative cash offer fo

A FOOTBALL club could soon be among the sport's big spenders after a Middle-Eastern company tabled plans for a sensational takeover bid.

Mohammed Al Hashimi, the executive chairman of Dubai-based Zabeel Investments, has made an "indicative cash offer" for Championship club Charlton Athletic FC in a buyout reportedly worth between £20m and £50m.

The prospective deal initially sparked widespread excitement among the team's fans, who presumably will now be hoping to see some of the world's greatest footballers will play at The Valley.

Any major transfer moves will have to wait though until an ongoing due diligence process is completed, but Charlton's plc board members have already recommended shareholders to sanction the switch of ownership.

In a joint statement, chairman of Charlton Athletic PLC, Derek Chappell, and Richard Murray, chairman of CAFC Limited, said: "The board firmly believes that a successful outcome for this transaction would be beneficial to shareholders and employees of Charlton, all fans of the club and the local community as a whole."

Al Hashimi also has high hopes for his possible new purchase, adding: "We feel now is the right time to make a strategic, long-term investment in Charlton and get CAFC back to the English Premier League, where they belong.

"The passion of the fans at Charlton, the heritage of the club and the unique status it enjoys in the community make it an exciting proposition for us."

Zabeel is a diversified investment business with interests involving commercial real estate development and management, private equity and asset management across a whole range of economic sectors in the Middle East and other international markets.

News of possible deal broke last Friday and many of the faithful have since given the proposal a resounding, if cautionary, thumbs-up. Charlton's supporters' representative director, Ben Hayes, from Bromley, said: "If it does go through, it will be very exciting for the club."

"It puts us on a very sound financial footing and it's very difficult to say that when you are in the Championship because you don't have the Sky TV money."

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