Bahraini bid for Blackburn Rovers FC faces probe

Bahraini firm behind bid for UK football club has had its licence suspended by authorities.
Bahraini bid for Blackburn Rovers FC faces probe
BLACKBURN ROVERS: The deal has potentially been thrown into jeopardy after WGAs licence was suspended. (Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Wed 01 Sep 2010 10:33 AM

A Bahraini company’s bid for the Blackburn Rovers English football club has potentially been thrown into jeopardy after it became the subject of a probe by authorities and had its licence suspended, it was reported on Wednesday.

Western Gulf Advisory (WGA) has had its licence suspended by the Industry and Commerce Ministry (I&CM) after it had allegedly violated regulations by operating outside its remit, according to a report by the Gulf Daily News.

However, Ahsan Ali Syed, WGA’s chairman and managing director, claimed the probe by Bahraini authorities into the company’s activities would not derail its bid to buy the English Premier League football club Blackburn Rovers.

"There is no hidden investor or any outside wealth involved in any way in the investment activities of Western Gulf Advisory," Syed said in a statement to the UK media.

The WGA statement added that the Bahraini authorities had asked for clarification on the company’s investment activities. WGA claimed that the its Bahrain and European business are entirely separate and the Blackburn Rovers bid was being handled by its business in Switzerland.

"WGA's investments are always made by one of its European entities and this will also be the case for the potential takeover of Blackburn Rovers. Our Bahrain business is a separate entity which is not involved in investment activities of WGA at all and has in fact very limited scope of activities," the statement added.

A spokesman for Blackburn Rovers told the newspaper that, as far it was aware, negotiations for the takeover were still ongoing. The UK club is one of only four to have won the Premier League, the most prestigious league in UK football.

Syed, who is believed to control a fortune of over $1.5bn and his bid is said to be worth around £300m ($462.5m), with a plan to invest a further £100m ($154m) in new players for the squad. The report also added that, if successful, Syed plans to spend five days a month in the UK and to buy a ranch in Britain and pursue his other great passion: horse racing.

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