Shaheen to sue Malaga for wrongful dismissal as Al-Thani questions administrator's intentions

File photo of Shaheen during a match at La Rosaleda.
File photo of Shaheen during a match at La Rosaleda. / Salvador Salas
  • The sheikh and his trusted advisor have gone on the offensive this week, criticising the actions of the judicial administrator

Ousted Malaga president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani and his confidant for some months now, Richard Shaheen, may have been removed from the management of the club, but they are not keeping out of the limelight while they fight for their right to return in the courts.

Shaheen on Thursday announced that he would be taking the club to court for wrongful dismissal. The statement, issued to Efe, says that Shaheen was "illegally" dismissed last February and that "the accusations on which the dismissal was based are completely false".

The pair also published a statement this week in which they attacked the actions of the judicial administrator of the club, José María Muñoz, who they say is acting "irresponsibly" and has "seriously damaged the club during the last three months".

Al-Thani and Shaheen especially question the decision to announce an ERE mass redundancy plan for the collective dismissal of around fifty employees, which they say is "unnecessary and ineffective in saving costs". Shaheen stresses: "By paying fair but unnecessary pay-outs to long-term employees, the club will be impoverished. Meanwhile, the administrator continues to ignore other much more effective cost-saving plans, which were already in place when he arrived. These types of actions make it very clear that the intentions of the judicial administrator, of course, are not to benefit the finances of Malaga."

Shaheen's plans

The rest of the statement focuses mainly on the measures that Shaheen had put in place, or at least that he was going to, which they say would have resolved the club's financial plight relatively easily.

Among the proposals, Shaheen highlights plans for expansion abroad with promotional activities in emerging markets which he says would have brought in 3.4 million euros. He also estimates that he would achieve a saving of 7.2 million and an income of 8.6 million with through manoeuvrings in the transfer market (a total of 15.8 million).

Shaheen also mentions the sale of Antoñín, authorised outside the transfer window by Muñoz for what the men consider a fee well short of his market value (1.5 million). They say the sale could have been avoided and much of this revenue could have been raised by reorganising staff and the funding for the Academy project (900,000 euros).

What's more, Shaheen estimates that 12 million euros could have been earned from a tribunal over Jony's move to Lazio. He also mentioned the possible sale of Braga winger Ricardo Horta (for whom Malaga own a significant part of the rights to the player), albeit without citing a figure, as well as the income lost after the Copa de la Reina final was postponed because of the pandemic (a 400,000-euro loss). According to these optimistic estimates, the money raised would have exceeded 30 million euros.

For this reason, the statement calls for a report on the accounts and for Muñoz to be held to greater accountability. "For a judicial administrator to be at the helm of a club like Malaga for such an extended period of time is not only unusual, but also totally reckless," Shaheen said.

Beyond the ERE

For his part, Muñoz's plans go beyond just that of the ERE, which will make a saving of around a million euros. The main cost-cutting centres on external expenses, those provided by companies or professionals outside the club. As SUR has learned, the club is looking at every provider, one by one and in close detail, in order to ascertain which of these are now considered essential. Those which can be disposed of will be while in the case of those which are still needed, the contracts will be examined and new terms negotiated where possible.