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Monday, 22 July 2019

Saudi's Turki Al-Sheikh gives up sports investment in Egypt, sells Pyramids FC to Emirati investor

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 22 Feb 2019
Turki Al-Sheikh
File photo of Pyramids FC owner Turki Al-Sheikh (Ahram)
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Egyptian Premier League outfit Pyramids FC has been sold to Emirati investor Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi after a long spell of tensions with Ahly fans and management.

"The club's ownership has been transferred to the UAE's investor Mr. Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, as have all the club's investments that belonged to the club's former owner Turki Al-Sheikh in Egypt,” read a statement by Pyramids FC released on Friday.

"The former owner of Pyramids FC wishes Mr. Salem Al-Shamsi the best of luck in achieving his target," the statement added.

It's not the first time Al-Sheikh, the current chairman of the General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia, has announced that he has given up his sports investments in Egypt; last September he said he had made the same decision, but changed his mind soon after.

Tensions with Ahly

Al-Sheikh initially appeared on the Egyptian sports scene as a hardcore fan and financial backer of Egypt's Ahly, and was named honorary president of the Cairo giants in December 2017.

Just five months after receiving the honorary title, the 37-year-old stepped down from the post after a harsh dispute with the club management.

The relationship between Al-Sheikh and Ahly fans became tense when he went on to buy Al-Assiouty Sport last summer and transform it into new club Pyramids, in an unprecedented move.

Al-Sheikh was mocked by thousands of Ahly fans during the club’s 4-0 win over Guinea's Horoya AC in the quarterfinal of the CAF Champions League at El-Salam Stadium in September last year.

The angry fans charged that Al-Sheikh was responsible for the recent conflict between their club and the Saudi football association over the timing of a Saudi-Egyptian super cup match.

For his part, Al-Sheikh opened the fire on Ahly's management, asking them to announce how they had spent funds he had paid to them to support the team since he was named the club's honorary president.

Ahly's management asked the Egyptian authorities to investigate the accusations made by Al-Sheikh, and authorities investigated and concluded that the club had worked within the law.

Buying Al-Assiouty Sport

Al-Sheikh spent big after buying Egyptian Premier League side Al-Assiouty and re-naming it Pyramids FC in the summer, making some record signings as he sought to assemble a title-challenging club and dethrone Ahly, the winners of the past three editions of the premier domestic competition.

Speculation swirled that the new club owner was eager to cause an upset and dethrone Ahly, who are eyeing a fourth league triumph.

Backed by a host of foreign players in addition to prominent Egyptian faces, Pyramids quickly managed to move to the top of the Egyptian league title race.

The team currently stands at second place in the league with 45 points from 23 matches, seven points behind leaders Zamalek, who have played two matches more.

Supporting Zamalek    

Al-Sheikh has also begun to provide financial support to Ahly's long-time rivals Zamalek, after receiving support from the Whites' chairman during the dispute with Ahly.

Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour blamed Ahly's management, headed by Mahmoud El-Khateeb, for being responsible for the insults of Ahly fans directed at Al-Sheikh.

Mansour also publicly blamed El-Khateeb, especially after the latter's statement thanking the fans for behaving "perfectly" during the game against Guinea's Horoya AC.

The former chairman of the General Sports Authority in Saudi Arabia, Al-Sheikh has helped Zamalek to make new signings that have boosted their squad, like Tunisian duo Ferjani Sassi, a midfielder, and right back Hamdi Nagguez.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 

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