Saudi General Authority for Entertainment chairman buys Spanish football club

Turki Al-Sheikh was formerly the owner of Egyptian side Pyramids FC
Saudi General Authority for Entertainment chairman buys Spanish football club
Turki Al-Sheikh, wearing an Almeria FC shirt with the club's new general director Mohamed El-Assy.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 06 Aug 2019 09:25 AM

The chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment, Turki Al-Sheikh, has become the latest owner of Spanish second division football club Almeria.

According to Spain’s Mundo Deportivo sports news outlet, the 38-year old Saudi paid about 20 million euros for the club, in addition to another seven million euros to cover the club’s pre-existing debts.

Al-Sheikh is no stranger to the world of professional football, having previously been the owner of Egyptian side Pyramids FC, which in July was reportedly transferred to Emirati investor Salem Al-Shamsi.

“Turki Al-Sheikh, who has had an ample and brilliant trajectory in the world of international sports, and the business world, is undertaking an ambitious project with UD Almeria,” said an official statement on the club’s website. “He wants [Almeria] to be a great club in all aspects.”

The club also tweeted an image of Al-Sheikh with a welcome message in Spanish, Arabic and English.

According to Marca, a Spanish-language sports newspaper, Alsheikh has already brought in a number of coaching staff to the club, including a new general director, Mohamed Al Assy.

Additionally, former manager Oscar Fernandez was reportedly replaced by former FC Porto captain Pedro Emanuel.

The club’s former president, Alfonso Garcia Gabarron, was quoted as saying that he always “wanted the best for the club” and that he has high confidence in its fortunes with Al-Sheikh as owner.

“He is someone who likes football, and that’s very important. The team is in good hands,” he said. “I’m convinced, and we hope to see Almeria in the first division soon. This club will grow a lot with him in charge.”

UD Almeria struggled in the 2017/2018 season, ending the season in 18th place of 22 teams in La Liga 2, Spain’s second division.

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