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Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Malaga owners committed to project

Dermot Corrigan, Spanish Correspondent

Malaga's new executive vice-president Moayad Shatat claims the club's Qatari owners are fully committed to their project and have never tried to sell the club.

Malaga were taken over two years ago by the billionaire owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani however his spell has been blighted by financial problems that has seen some of their best players leave over the summer.

There also reports that he was looking to move the debt-ridden club on but his representative Shatat says that Al-Thani has had no intention of leaving Malaga.

"At no moment have we said we were going to leave the club," said Shatat. "We began this project, we have invested a lot of money in it and we have no intention of stopping. We will keep the project going and we want the best for this club. We want to invest but we want to do it at the right point. The sheikh has always been interested about Malaga and the club is not for sale."

A new directorial team was presented at a Wednesday morning press conference, where Shatat, who has been at Malaga since July, was speaking publicly for the first time. He said the club was now better set to grow into the future.

"I have been sent here to put in place a new working model for the club," he said. "Do not worry that we will invest money. We want what is best for the club, and to do things the best way possible for Malaga."

Spanish media reports two months ago stated that the Qatari owners held talks with Albanian oil magnate Rezart Taci, after Al-Thani had complained via Twitter about a racist campaign from the Madrid press aimed at forcing him out of Spanish football.

Further reports in Malaga have also linked the owners' commitment to the club with their investment in a Costa del Sol marina development where progress had been disrupted by planning challenges. And Shatat admitted that his boss had been unhappy at times.

"They have been quite unhappy, actually disgruntled, but I cannot explain their reasons for this in public," he said. "They will continue with the project, supporting the club and remaining connected with it. They follow everything closely from Qatar and we will all keep working to fix any situation which might arise."

While Al-Thani has invested over €100 million in the club to date, a statement released via the club website in early August stated that their finances would be restructured to meet UEFA's incoming Financial Fair Play regulations and suggested no more big money would be forthcoming from Qatar.

This was followed by the sale of the likes of Santi Cazorla and Salomon Rondon in order to raise funds to pay money owed to current players, other clubs and the Spanish taxman, but Shatat claims those problems have now been dealt with.

"We have sorted out the debts," he said. "At that moment the best decision for the club was taken."

After sealing qualification for this season's Champions League group stages, Malaga signed four new players on free transfers or loan deals last week just before the summer transfer window shut.

Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal has been linked with a move to Athletic Bilbao, who under Spanish regulations have another month to spend the €40 million received for Javi Martinez, but Shatat ruled this out.

"We must work more on raising revenues, but not through selling players," he said. "Monreal? That situation has passed, we are calm and we do not need to sell. We were looking at the possibility of bringing players in, not selling more."




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