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SBD Global/February 1, 2013/Franchises

Kuwaiti Businessman Completes Takeover Of Super League Rugby Side Salford City Reds

Kuwait-born businessman Marwan Koukash "has completed his takeover" of Super League rugby side Salford City Reds, according to the BBC. Koukash, who is based in Liverpool, "had been in discussions to buy the troubled club for more than a month." Koukash said, "No other club in the sport has the potential of Salford City Reds, and I give a firm commitment to do all I can to help realize that potential." The takeover "comes after financial problems dogged the Reds" throughout the '12 season, with Revenue & Customs owed around £300,000 ($476,000), and ex-players Luke Patten and Vinnie Anderson due a combined total of £70,000 ($111,000) in unpaid wages. But Koukash, who has confirmed that all creditors will be paid in full, "will now take over at the side." The club had a winding-up petition issued against the takeover, which was adjourned until Monday (BBC, 1/31). In Manchester, Dean Wilkins reported the club "has been transferred" from long-standing Chair John Wilkinson, who has owned the club for 30 years. Koukash said, "It has been a difficult and sometimes very fraught process, and I can understand why some of our fans have been frustrated." It is rumored that Koukash "was made aware of the club’s situation" by Rugby Football League CEO Nigel Wood, who was on the same flight to Dubai, UAE as him. The new owner "has pledged to give spending power to coach Phil Veivers in order to turn around the club’s fortunes" (MANCUNIAN MATTERS, 1/31). Also in Manchester, Neil Barker reported Koukash intends to lead from the front and assures Reds' fans that "he is in it for the long haul and not for his own personal gain." Koukash said, "I am realistic, but I am also ambitious. I like to win." Koukash revealed that Wood "played a significant and influential role in helping rescue the Reds." It was Wood who brought Koukash to the negotiating table around Christmas time. Koukash said, "Nigel has definitely been a major player in all of this. He has been very honest with me from the very start" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 1/31).
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