DUBAI - Dubai's Royal Emirates Group is set to announce the purchase of a Spanish football club on Thursday, the company said without revealing the identity of its target.
"We confirm that the company will buy a Spanish team," Suleiman al Butti, project manager of Royal Emirates Group, told Reuters on Tuesday.
The company, an investment firm chaired by Sheikh Butti Bin Suhail Al Maktoum, suggested in a later statement the club would be named "Team Dubai" but it was not clear whether that would become the official name.
"It is to be announced that His Highness Sheikh Butti Bin Suhail Al Maktoum and Royal Emirates Group will become the owner of one of the top 'first league' football teams of La Liga Spain," the statement said.
A report on arabianbusiness.com and widely reproduced in Spanish media said the club in question was cash-strapped Real Zaragoza, who are flirting with relegation in 18th place in the La Liga standings with six games left.
A Zaragoza spokesman said the club were aware of the reports but were making no immediate comment.
If confirmed, the deal would be the third involving a non-Spanish buyer in the past year following the sale of Malaga to a member of the Qatari royal family and the purchase of Racing Santander by an Indian businessman.
Royal Emirates Group said Dubai's minister of culture, the Spanish ambassador and "many other corporate icons and members of the ruling family of Dubai" would attend Thursday's presentation.
Zaragoza, who lost 1-0 at Villarreal on Monday, said on their website that training had been suspended until Thursday.