Everton FC could be sold to UAE, one more Premier league club is on the way to foreign ownership
one more Premier league club is on the way to foreign ownership
UAE group close in on Everton
The area around alongside the ground of the English Premier League side Everton will become a football village if a deal with a UAE-based business consortium is finalised. Mike Egerton / EMPICS Sport
DUBAI // One of English football’s leading power-brokers has confirmed he is acting on behalf of a “UAE-based business consortium” in talks to acquire the English Premier League club Everton.
Chris Nathaniel, the managing director of NVA Management – a multi-faceted entertainment agency whose clients include England defenders John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, Manchester City striker Robinho and the Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt – last night revealed he had already met with the Merseyside club.
“I can confirm I am acting on behalf of a UAE-based business consortium, who are chaired by a prominent Dubai businessman, and that I am currently in discussions with a number of Premier League clubs, one of which is Everton Football Club,” said Nathaniel.
Two Premier League clubs are already owned by UAE nationals – Sheikh Mansour’s Manchester City and Sulaiman al Fahim’s Portsmouth.
However, a source close to the Everton deal said the country’s stake in world football’s richest league is about to grow. “They have visited the club and discussed future plans and figures, and Nathaniel is now waiting for instructions from his client,” said the source, who added that “could be sooner rather than later”.
“I expect an official approach and offer to Everton in a short space of time,” the source said. “The interesting proposition for the group is Everton’s new stadium plans. Nathaniel’s client’s vision – for whichever club he ultimately owns – is to build a football village alongside the ground.
“It’s about purchasing a club as a viable business proposition. It’s not about owning a trophy, it’s a sound business venture.
“Football clubs aren’t being maximised as brands and this consortium want to keep fans at the club after the game, offering them restaurants and a football village to spend their money in – it’s about making an entire match day experience.”
Nathaniel revealed details about his client’s strategy to increase his purchased club’s leisure and marketing revenues, and said this group are not the first from the region to approach him.
“Lots of Middle East-based individuals and groups are approaching me about Premier League clubs. There is a real appetite in the region,” he said.
He went on: “In this case, I’ve been approached because of my background in the entertainment industry. I can bring that element of big celebrity names and concerts – I can help realise my client’s plans to make a football club a wider entertainment platform. The Middle East understands the entertainment element, and how introducing it to football clubs can turn loss-making vehicles into profit-making ones.”
While talks with Everton, owned by the theatre impresario Bill Kenwright, are the most advanced, the source said Nathaniel has been instructed to approach several clubs – one of which is Everton’s Merseyside rivals, Liverpool.
“Talks have happened with the people who instruct on [Liverpool owner] Tom Hicks’ behalf, but it’s very early stages and it will take time.” confirmed the source.
“The client has requested a lot of information and until that is back, they can’t rule Liverpool out.”