Who will be in charge of Malaga CF once the judicial administrator leaves?

Lawyer José Carlos Aguilera and BlueBay president Jamal Satli Iglesias leaving the city hall.
Lawyer José Carlos Aguilera and BlueBay president Jamal Satli Iglesias leaving the city hall. / SUR
  • The court has ordered that the ownership of the club passes back to NAS Spain 2000, led by the BlueBay hotel group

Although the general circumstances caused by the coronavirus crisis have led to a total halt in the world of football, the future of Malaga CF is still at stake. Last Monday there was an important development: the court in Malaga ordered the provisional execution of the sentence of the so-called BlueBay case - that is to say that the property of the club passes again to NAS Spain 2000.

This company, which will now own all the shares that Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani bought when he first arrived in 2010 (96.9 per cent), is jointly owned by Al-Thani and the hotel group BlueBay, with the former holding 51 per cent and the latter 49 per cent, but also control of the company and therefore the club.

This means that, in principle, the hotel group will take over once the judicial administration, current in place, is over.

For the time being, though, BlueBay's involvement in Malaga CF would be limited, only able to attend the club's shareholders meetings.

No right to appeal

The order does not provide for the possibility of an appeal from the Al-Thani family, but the defendants can file their opposition within five working days, although the filing of the brief will not interrupt the execution of the sentence agreed last Monday.

As a result, judge Ramón Jiménez León has asked the Superior Sports Council to transfer the ownership of Malaga's shares from NAS Football to NAS Spain 2000. This change should also appear in the register of shareholders of Malaga CF itself.

In a statement, BlueBay stated that it had full confidence in the judicial system and considered that this decision will also benefit Malaga. "This new resolution will help create the conditions to be able to provide solutions to the difficult situation that the club is going through," the statement read.

"At BlueBay we believe in our chances of turning around the current state of affairs, as we successfully achieved in our previous stage in the management of Malaga, in which we were able to implement rigorous plans that were rational and committed to the objectives and needs of the club."

The hotel group would have control of NAS Spain 2000, but the sole administrator of this company remains Moayad Shatat (although the former vice-president of Malaga had already resigned from his post when he resigned from the club).

Work pending

Experts consulted by SUR say that before any substantial change can occur, the club's administrator, José María Muñoz, will have to stay in his role for at least six months. During this time and before leaving, he will have to have resolved the various issues that have led the club to its current precarious financial position.

Muñoz must work to rebalance the books so that La Liga's financial restrictions aren't breached and the side can continue to compete in the division next season.

He will also have to handle the consequences of the coronavirus crisis on the club - a new crisis which will surely accelerate the need for new outside investors (several proposals have already arrived).

He, with the approval of the judge investigating the case brought forward by the Association of Minority Shareholders (APA), will also have to facilitate any handover and pertinent changes in the boards of directors both in NAS Spain 2000 and in Malaga CF.

None of this takes in account any possible action from the Al-Thani family who are loath to lose control of the club but are under investigation for several alleged crimes, including money laundering.

Plenty of work to do.