So where is the sheikh?

Al-Thani with Sandro in May.
Al-Thani with Sandro in May. / Ñ. SALAS
  • The club owner hasn't been in the city since returning to Qatar for Ramadan in May

Malaga. With the club facing the biggest sporting crisis during his reign as owner, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani continues his prolonged absence from the city.

The sheikh has not been seen since returning to Qatar in May to observe Ramadan and has been running the club remotely, principally through his children.

Since firing Vicente Casado as general director, his sons Nasser, Nayef and Rakan, who all have roles on the board, have been running the club based on his orders.

His daughter Hamyan has also been brought into the picture and has been overseeing the women's team and the Academy project which was finally inaugurated this week after years of delays.

At present Al-Thani no longer has a 'man of confidence' in place at the club, instead almost entirely delegating to his children and sporting director Mario Husillos.

The problem in the past has been a lack of trust in those operating on his behalf, frequently leading to interventionism which was, with hindsight, excessive.

This occurred in the summer when Al-Thani vetoed the move for experienced pro Javi García and instead personally pursued a move for Argentinian rookie Esteban Rolón who has hardly featured this campaign. On a number of occasions, too, deals have been held up and stalled as the club waited for Al-Thani's final word.

However, this January saw an enormous shift with Malaga carrying out business rapidly, with the operations carried out by Husillos with almost complete autonomy.

Despite the seeming change in direction, though, fans are unimpressed by the sheikh's lack of involvement. With the team facing the very real prospect of relegation, calls are increasing for the sheikh to take some of the blame for the side's predicament.