Renamed Getafe bought for up to 90 million

DUBAI - Royal Emirates Group on Thursday signed a deal to buy La Liga club Getafe for up to 90 million euros with the Dubai firm targeting a top six finish next season for the relegation-haunted Spanish outfit.

The club will be renamed "Getafe Team Dubai" following the acquisition by Royal Emirates, an investment firm chaired by Sheikh Butti Bin Suhail Al Maktoum.

"The majority of the payment is up front - for the coming year, we are definitely going to secure a position in the top six," Royal Emirates managing director Kaiser Rafiq told reporters in Dubai, adding the group had paid between 70 million and 90 million euros in a deal not funded by debt.

Getafe finished sixth last season but are languishing in 14th place this term, four points above the relegation places, while the club, located in Madrid's suburbs, attract the lowest attendances in the Spanish top flight.

Yet Dubai officials seem undeterred. Suleiman al Butti, Royal Emirates project manager, earmarked qualification for the Champions League, Europe's elite club competition, within two seasons.

"Our vision is to now beat Real Madrid," said Butti.

Royal Emirates officials would not be drawn on Getafe's transfer budget for the coming season but said they already had players in mind.

The Getafe deal is the third foreign acquisition of a La Liga club 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.

"We were offered two or three La Liga clubs and we also looked into Europe as well but Getafe is a young and rising team," said Rafiq.

"Royal Emirates Group is a private holding company and no funding is coming from the ruling family. This is strictly a private business deal."

Getafe will try to bring Arab players to Getafe, providing they are good enough for La Liga, Butti added.

State-owned Dubai World last month agreed a deal to restructure about $25 billion of debts and Dubai is estimated to have liabilities of about $115 billion.


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