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LATEST NEWS Nov 9th 2008.

The UK's Mail on Sunday newspaper carries a big story on page 83 on Nov 9th 2008 regarding Dubai and Abu Dhabi's growing influence on the finances of the Premiership League in England.

The headline is "Arabs target five more Premier clubs".

The story by Chief Football writer, Rob Draper, states:-
"Football's new leading lady and powerbroker has confirmed that Arab money will bail out English football within months, with Everton almost certain to be bought by a Middle Eastern Royal Family and West Ham also a target for Arab wealth.

Amanda Staveley, who put together the £210 million purchase of Manchester City by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed al Nahyan, is now working to bring more Middle Eastern money to the Premier League and up to five clubs are being targeted.

With Manchester City manager Mark Hughes flying out this weekend to meet the sheikh and his advisors, Staveley's contacts could further transform the English game and take its wealth even beyond the levels of Chelsea's Roman Abramovich.

Sheikh Mansour is believed to measure his wealth in trillions of dollars, rather than billions, and if Staveley can persuade more Middle Eastern individuals to commit to the Premier League, it could lead to a timely boost to revenues in the English game at a time when TV income has probably reached its peak.

While the Arab investors will not simply bankroll clubs without any thought for the returns or the cost, stars such as Kaka at A.C Milan and Leo Messi at Barcelona are much more likely to end up in England if such wealth is injected into the Premier League.

Arab owners would also bring a revolution in management practice, with old-style football agents phased out and more structured methods of scouting and recruiting introduced.

Staveley, who heads PCP Capital Partners and lives in London and Dubai, said that more deals were in the pipeline for English football clubs because they were the key provider of digital content on media platforms worldwide.

With Everton, Newcastle, West Ham, Portsmouth, and potentially Liverpool, now in the market, Staveley who was quoted in the Financial Times, is believed to be close to securing new money for two of those clubs.

Everton, where Seymour Pierce executive chairman Keith Harris is working with chairman Bill Kenwright to sell the club, are top of her list and a takeover is expected by the end of the year.

But the admission of West Ham Vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson, that Icelandic owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is looking to sell the club after the bank which he owns collapsed, means that Staveley may also end up rescuing the east London club.

Amanda Staveley, who negotiated a deal to shore up Barclays Bank with finance from Abu Dhabi and Qatar, has excellent contacts with both those royal families and that of Dubai.

Keith Harris, who as a former chief executive of HSBC and Chairman of the Football League, understands the Asian market and football better than most, believes that the majority of Middle East businessmen are looking for glamour rather than profits.

He said ......."I cannot believe they are looking at investments on which they can make returns. I assume they don't have any unique knowledge that would enable them to do that. But I can see why they would want to own a football club as a trophy. Some clubs have a real brand element to their attractiveness and some Middle Eastern entities are keen to use them for promotions, with the idea of clubs playing matches in their country and carrying the name of the state. But it's one thing paying £50 million for a football club and it's another paying £200 million. No matter how much money you have, you take it into the realm of trophy ownership."...........

Harris warned that projected profits for selling football on the internet is still a speculative business proposition, and he added ......"It is yet to be proved that football is a content for digital platform.

It's something that the Liverpool F.C owners have long since believed, but is yet to be proved. I would not even call that potential projected profit, but projected revenue, because heaven knows what costs go in association with these things.

In south-east Asia, the English Premier League is a contest that drives a huge amount of interest in Malaysia, Thailand, China, Singapore and Hong Kong, and you can understand how that works for revenue.

The Premier League is important in the Middle East, but the viewing figures are far lower because the population is far lower.

The volume of viewing numbers in China is pretty huge. It's no accident that matches are on at lunchtime in the UK, which is prime-time in south-east Asia.

We don't have matches on at 9am to satisfy the Middle East prime time.".........

Harris is currently negotiating the sale of of Newcastle United and this week confirmed that the race was now down to two serious bidding rivals . But, he warned that in the current financial climate, it might take all season to finalise the deal."

Further Football News from Mail on Sunday 9/11/08

Manchester City's new board discussed on the morning of Nov 9th, whether to strip Thaksin Shinawatra of his title of honorary president, after the former Manchester City football club owner was banned from the UK.

At the first meeting of directors since Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed al Nahyan bought out Shinawatra in a £225 million deal, the latest episode in the embarrassing saga of the former Thai Prime Minister, will top the agenda.

The United Kingdom Border Agency have cancelled the visas of Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman, after their convictions and prison sentences in Thailand for financial offences.

Now city's Arab owners will decide whether his connections should be severed entirely and whether his interest in Manchester City, through the 10 per cent stake controlled by two associates, can be maintained.

On April 5th 2007, Liverpool lived up to their reputation and convincingly beat their arch rivals, Manchester United, by 5 goals to 2 in the Final of the Dubai Masters Football Cup, at the Aviation Club, Dubai.

Liverpool captain, Alan Kennedy, says they are going for three in a row in 2008.

The English side defeated Scottish rivals, Glasgow Rangers and Celtic along the way in 2007.

This Sports Solutions-organised tournament is certainly going from strength to strength.

According to reports in the British Press, Ex-England international, Robbie Fowler will head for Dubai to finish his football career. But first he is moving this year to Blackburn Rovers from Cardiff City.

Robbie Fowler is very interested in ending his career in Dubai, because he has invested in at least five properties out there.

Fowler wants to join the Al-Ahli club, according to reports. They are former UAE champions.

Several famous footballers have invested in luxury properties in Dubai.

Full 11-a-side teams based in Dubai play in the United Arab Emirates League, which has become a popular destination for footballers from around the world nearing the end of their careers.

Football is not the only attraction of Dubai!!

all combine to form a heady mix for sportsmen facing retirement!!

Famous players who have plied their trade in the Middle East include George Weah, Frank and Ronald de Boer and Argentinian striker, Gabriel Batistuta.

The Emirate is also famous for the Dubai Challenge Cup, which sees top teams from Europe and South America battle it out.

The Dubai club season kicks off on September 13th, 2008.

Nationally, the UAE face North Korea in the World Cup, Asia Zone, final round qualifier on September 6th, 2008.

This is followed by a match with Saudi Arabia four days later. Both games will be played in Abu Dhabi.

Latest News from the UK

On Saturday October 18th 2008, the UK's Sun newspaper reported an "Exclusive" regarding Dubai and Everton Football Club from the city of Liverpool, England. Everton is a leading Premiership football club.

The Sun said that "Everton are set for a £200 million takeover bid ... from the Arab billionaires who wanted Charlton Athletic.

Zaheel Investments, owned by Dubai's Royal Family are ready to drop their interest in the Londoners. They made a £20 million offer for the Championship club just a week ago, but now feel the Merseysiders would offer better value for money.

Ironically, Zaheel have previously shown an interest in buying Liverpool and have been linked to Newcastle, Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham, as well.

Company chairman Mohammed al Hashimi and his representatives are willing to wipe out Everton's £52 million debt. They would also bank-roll a move to a new stadium, with £78 million of new funding needed.

But the news will anger Charlton, where Zaheel had planned to buy the club and wipe out their £20 million debt".

Of course, Everton, located in Liverpool, is only about 30 miles from Manchester, where the Abu Dhabi United Group, also of the UAE, purchased Manchester City Football Club, only a month or so earlier.

That purchase was headed by Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, CEO of Hydra Properties, a leading property developer in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

If the Everton report comes to fruition, the United Arab Emirates and its business leaders will have an extremely strong presence in the north-west of England, and in the two neighbouring cities that are homes to Liverpool Football Club and Manchester United Football Club.

What two clubs are more famous globally than those two?

Big Arab oil money could place Everton and Manchester City in an extremely powerful position to really challenge their more successful rivals in their home cities, in the coming seasons.

Big money buys top players and is vital in achieving success.

Imagine the football rivalry that is about to intensify in England's north-west!

We will view future developments with acute interest.