Al-Thani calls for ‘international investigation’ into 2013 Dortmund-Malaga Champions League clash

Outspoken Malaga owner Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani has called for an ‘international investigation’ into his side’s Champions League exit against Borussia Dortmund in 2013.

The seven-year anniversary of the match passed in early April – Dortmund progressed to the last four thanks to two last-minute goals in Germany, with the winner being particularly controversial as several attacking players appeared to be standing in offside positions.

The Qatari owner has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent times.

Last month, Marca outlined the details of a report from the auditing company Ernst & Young, which were signed on 30 September 2019 and outline the severity of the economic situation at the club, with the owner’s family reportedly owing Malaga €7.3m in loans and credit lines.

The report outlines ‘significant doubts’ that the club could ‘continue as a functioning company’ due to its monetary position and significant reduction in monies.

A huge income stream was lost with the club’s relegation from La Liga in 2018 with an estimated €43m being lost from audiovisual rights alone, but the family are said to have continued to pump money out of the club through loans into their own personal accounts.

Cadena Ser recently outlined how the family had been buying out shares from smaller shareholders to increase their control at the club and had been using the club’s money for their personal expenses and business interests, per police reports.

It is said that the club leant the family €5.5m on top of their €1.4m annual fee of being on the club’s board of directors, but the money was never returned and indeed was used to pay for flights, holidays, hotels, chauffeur-driven cars, lawyers, accommodation and other personal expenses.

This is highly damaging for Al Thani and supports the recent decision to take the club out of his hands and is sure to increase fan discontent with the Qatari family.

The fact that it shows Al Thani receiving a salary from a sports club which owned by a company in its corporate environment to defend and promote their own economic interests is not above board.

The report came after it emerged that world famous American actor George Clooney is interested in buying Spanish second division club, as per Diario AS.

Last month, Al Thani was temporarily removed as Malaga president by a regional court, as reported by Marca, over a series of charged including alleged illegal appropriation, unfair prejudice and improper management, with judicial administrator Jose Maria Munoz temporarily appointed in his place.

A €5.4m bond has also been placed upon Al Thani and his children, who are implicated in the alleged offences, and if this is not paid in the specified timeframe then the shares will be seized.

Al Thani purchased the Costa del Sol club in 2010 for a reported €36m and made a series of high-profile signings, with the high point seeing Malaga reach the 2013 Champions League quarter finals.

However, the club – who were relegated from La Liga in 2018 and are currently 14th in Segunda – have been plunged into several off-field crises since and it had been claimed that La Liga may force administration upon the Andalusian club and that would see them relegated from the Segunda.

Malaga are also in the news this year as they have been taken to court by former boss Victor Sanchez Del Amo over the nature of his dismissal last month.

Tags Borussia Dortmund