OFFICIAL: Fulham sold to Pakistani billionaire Shahid Khan | inside World Soccer

OFFICIAL: Fulham sold to Pakistani billionaire Shahid Khan

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mohamed Al-Fayed has ended his 16-year stint as Fulham owner after the Egyptian agreed a deal to sell the club to Pakistani billionaire Shahid Khan.

New Fulham owner Shahid Khan is the sixth US-based Premier League owner
New Fulham owner Shahid Khan is the sixth US-based Premier League owner

Photo: Getty Images

Khan, who already owns Jacksonville Jaguars in American football's NFL, has been in talks with Al-Fayed for several days and the pair have struck an agreement that will put the Cottagers under new ownership for the first time in 16 years.

Financial details of the takeover have yet to be officially disclosed, with media reports valuing the deal at between £150 million and £200 million.

"I was recently very fortunate to have been introduced to Mohamed Al-Fayed, a man I respect and admire immensely for what he has accomplished in his life and - above all - what he has given others," Khan told the club's website.

"Today, he is giving me the privilege and responsibility of serving as the next custodian of Fulham Football Club.

"I am extremely honored to accept and want to thank him, on behalf of everyone who loves Fulham, for 16 years of exceptional service to the club.

"Mr Al-Fayed rescued the club in its hour of need and has led it to a sustained place within the Premier League.

"Fulham is the perfect club at the perfect time for me. I want to be clear, I do not view myself so much as the owner of Fulham, but a custodian of the club on behalf of its fans.

"My priority is to ensure the club and Craven Cottage each have a viable and sustainable Premier League future that fans of present and future generations can be proud of.

"We will manage the club's financial and operational affairs with prudence and care, with youth development and community programs as fundamentally important elements of Fulham's future."

Mohamed Al-Fayed's ownership was arguably the most successful period in Fulham's history
Mohamed Al-Fayed's ownership was arguably the most successful period in Fulham's history

Photo: Getty Images

Al-Fayed, the 84-year-old former owner of posh department store Harrods, bought Fulham for £6.25 million in 1997 and transformed them from a third-tier outfit to an established Premier League side.

Off the field, training facilities have improved markedly and Craven Cottage has been revamped, with planning permission in place to redevelop the Riverside Stand and increase the stadium's capacity to 30,000.

The club are also effectively debt-free after Al-Fayed converted previous loans into equity earlier this year.

Such is his popularity, more than 1,000 Fulham fans have already signed a petition to rename the Riverside Stand to the Mohamed Al-Fayed Stand.

"My time of serving as the custodian of Fulham Football Club would one day come to an end, and I feel that time has now arrived," Al-Fayed said.

"The time is right because I have found a very good man in Shahid Khan to accept the responsibility and privilege that I have enjoyed at Fulham since 1997.

"Fulham will be in very good hands with Shahid, whose success in business and passion for sport is very evident.

"I ask everyone who loves Fulham and our Craven Cottage home to welcome Shahid as he begins his journey as the next guardian of Fulham Football Club."

With an estimated fortune of £1.7 billion, Khan is ranked 179th in the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.

Born in Pakistan, the 62-year-old moved to the United States aged 16 for college and secured an engineering degree from the University of Illinois.

He ended up buying the first company to give him a job, transforming auto parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate into a global leader that now employs more than 16,000 people at 52 manufacturing throughout USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Spain.


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