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BlueBay trial postponed again, leaving the club's future up in the air

Journalists surround Al-Thani outside the Ciudad de Justicia on Tuesday.
Journalists surround Al-Thani outside the Ciudad de Justicia on Tuesday. / Salvador Salas
  • Malaga CF president Sheikh Al-Thani has been accused of "deliberate manoeuvring" to further delay proceedings

The so-called 'BlueBay case' has been hit with yet another delay as the trial was postponed until 21 February 2019 at a hearing at the Ciudad de Justicia in Malaga on Tuesday.

Malaga CF president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani was in attendance and was set to testify against the BlueBay hotel group which is demanding that the conditions of a contract, which it signed with the sheikh and his associates in 2013, be honoured. They are calling for 49 per cent of shares in the club as well as control of its running.

Al-Thani, for his part, says BlueBay never complied with the conditions of the contract, rendering it invalid.

The trial was postponed two years ago when 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 Satli Iglesias, a day prior to the preliminary hearing. With these complaints officially shelved, the trial was set to resume on Tuesday.

This time, however, it couldn't go ahead for procedural reasons with Ghubn not in attendance. Sources say that he never received notice that he needed to attend.

This was not received well by Iglesias, who said that he believed this was yet another ploy by the sheikh's team to delay proceedings.

"We hoped that it would take place today, but once again it hasn't been possible thanks to yet another deliberate manoeuvre from Mr Al-Thani which only serves his interests and not those of the club. We hope this can be resolved as soon as possible," he said.

Al-Thani had flown into Malaga on Friday morning with his daughter Hamyan and both attended Malaga's clash against Granada at La Rosaleda on Saturday, ahead of his court appearance.

The sheikh set to leave again

Despite this being his first visit to the city since May 2017, Al-Thani told reporters as he left the Ciudad de Justicia that he would not remain in the city for long: "I have a work trip, but I might come back after."

The sheikh also insisted that he didn't know anything about the whereabouts of Ghubn but told reporters that the team was doing "very well".

"I hope that we return to Primera; we have a lot of players and we can improve," he said.

Asked whether there would be any new players coming in January, he said: "There are a lot of possibilities. We will see what happens with [sporting director José Luis] Caminero. He has the final say."