BlueBay, with its sights set on Malaga CF once more

Gonzalo Hervás, general director of BlueBay, at preliminary hearing two years ago.
Gonzalo Hervás, general director of BlueBay, at preliminary hearing two years ago. / S. SALAS
  • The hotel group is keen to take control of the club, conditions they say were agreed in 2013 but not fulfilled by owner Sheikh Al-Thani

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani has always said that he is not interested in selling Malaga football club, despite the sporting crisis it finds itself in and demands from fans for him to sell up.

He owns almost all of the shares in the club but there is one threat to his ownership hanging over him, that of 'caso BlueBay'.

The BlueBay hotel group is demanding that the conditions of a contract, which it signed with the sheikh and his collaborators in 2013, be honoured.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the group said that the contract entitled them to “co-ownership of the 97 per cent shares in the club” and “control of the club to implement a viable and sustainable project for the future”.

This deal was signed at a time when the club had amassed huge debt following its run in the Champions League and needed funds to rebuild the squad.

However, Al-Thani and his representatives argue that the group failed to comply with the conditions of the contract, thereby rendering it invalid.

Sources at the club say that BlueBay only paid two million euros of the amount due, and this money has been returned to them.

BlueBay, however, has reiterated its desire to push ahead with “the lawsuit open against Mr Al-Thani” whose trial is expected to get under way after the summer. It was originally due to start two years ago before Al-Thani's lawyers lodged a criminal complaint for falsehood and misappropriation against former Malaga CF directors Abdullah Ghubn and Moayad Shatat, and the head of BlueBay, Jamal Iglesias. This put a spanner in the works but now that these complaints have been officially shelved, proceedings can, in theory, continue, barring any further last-ditch attempts to stall the process from Al-Thani.

Clashes with authorities

Al-Thani has been ruffling a few feathers this past week after coming under fire from a number of public figures including Malaga mayor, Francisco de la Torre, and the Diputación provincial government chief, Elías Bendodo.

Both had been reflecting on the sorry state of affairs at the club and Al-Thani questioned their commitment to Malaga CF, dismissing their statements as “populist comments” and asked what happened the financial help that had been promised.

De la Torre refused to react to the sheikh's comments but Bendodo appealed for “more commitment” and fewer “smokescreens”.

BlueBay, in its statement, also promised its “total respect for institutions”.