Malaga owner Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani has once again courted headlines for an extraordinary attack on Emmanuel Macron, the president of France.
The threat comes at a sensitive time in France after the murder of school teacher Samuel Paty in Paris last week, reopening a debate on freedom of expression surrounding religion in the nation – as documented by RMC Sport‘s analysis of the exchange.
Al Thani launched a rant on his Twitter which quoted the response of president Macron to the issue, and said: “If there is no official apology for all Muslim countries regarding the speech of racism, incitement and hatred and recommending acts offensive to the message of Allah, then bear the consequences.”
— Abdullah N Al Thani (@ANAALThani) October 26, 2020
Al Thani has often courted controversy publicly and his time at the head of the Andalusian club has been mired in controversy in recent times.
He and his family owe the Segunda club a total of €8.5m, a local court claimed last month.
The details are outlined in a report in Marca which follows a report in March this year which showed that club accounts showed the family owed the club a total €7.3m in loans and credit lines, with a further €1.2m now added on.
Those charges relate to new documents that have come to light showing the family took additional money out of the club during their ownership for their personal use, which was illegal.
It is said that those charges relate to the buying and selling of high-end vehicles, the acquisition of real estate and other private investments.
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.
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.
In March, 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, although this has yet to materialise.