Qatari owner orders overhaul of Malaga football club after firing of senior official

Spanish club's director general was recently sacked over "a series of damaging and unauthorised actions"
Qatari owner orders overhaul of Malaga football club after firing of senior official
(Getty Images)
By Reuters
Tue 01 Dec 2015 10:44 AM

Malaga's Qatari owner is hoping to put the struggling La Liga club back on a stable footing after firing his director general over what auditors said on Monday was "a series of damaging and unauthorised actions".

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani, a member of the Qatar royal family who bought the south-coast team in 2010, has appointed a panel of auditors to look into the club's institutional problems and director general Vicente Casado was sacked at the weekend on their recommendation.

The future looked bright for Malaga when Al Thani arrived and, after heavy investment in players, they narrowly failed to reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2013, losing 3-2 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund.

Al Thani's interest and commitment has appeared to wane since then and coach Manuel Pellegrini left for Manchester City while key players were sold.

After more top performers were offloaded in the close season, Malaga find themselves mired in the relegation places after 13 matches of the latest campaign.

Pedro Gonzalez Segura, who is heading the group of consultants hired by Al Thani to sort out the club's problems, told a news conference on Monday that Casado's actions had caused "serious damage".

Among his alleged transgressions, Casado is alleged to have presided over salary increases for some board members which Gonzalez Segura said were "disproportionate" and "unauthorised".

Casado had also approved the sale last year of the economic rights of players including Samu Castillejo, Ignacio Camacho and Sergi Darder to a company domiciled in Panama that Al Thani did not know about or authorise, Gonzalez Segura added.

The price charged was "much less than the market value" and the transactions did not comply with FIFA transfer rules, he said.

"Having said all that, the president (Al Thani) wants to apologise to the fans, although he did not know many of the facts and feels betrayed," Gonzalez Segura said.

"His intention is to lead the project and, helped by the efforts of all the club's employees, ... begin work with the professional consultants to try to make sure Malaga keeps improving and put it on a stable footing."

Casado, who was appointed in 2012, did not immediately respond to an email seeking a response to the allegations.

In what appear to be his most recent public comments, reproduced in Spanish media on November 19, Casado sought to send a calming message to concerned fans.

"Any decisions taken will be for the good of the club," he was quoted as saying.

Malaga's next outing is a King's Cup last 32, first leg at second-division Mirandes on Thursday followed by a trip to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday.

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