Business

Getafe football club bought by Dubai-based group

Lionel Messi (R) of Barcelona is tackled by Ivan Marcano of Getafe during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Getafe at Camp Nou on March 19, 2011 in Barcelona
Image caption Getafe's Ivan Marcano tackles Barcelona's Lionel Messi (right) in a recent match

Spain's Getafe football club has been bought by the Royal Emirates Group.

The group - chaired by a member of Dubai's ruling Al-Maktoum family - bought the La Liga club for "between 70 and 90m euros" (£79m, $131m), it said.

The purchase "will push Getafe to the highest level in domestic and European competition", club president Angel Torres said.

The Madrid-based club is the third in Spain's top flight to be bought by Gulf-based buyers.

The other two are Malaga, bought by Qatari billionaire Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani, and Racing Santander, now owned by Dubai-based Indian tycoon Ahsan Ali Syed.

Aiming high

As part of the deal, Getafe will now add the tag line "Team Dubai" to its crest.

"For the coming year, we are definitely going to secure a position in the top six," Royal Emirates managing director Kaiser Rafiq said.

"Our vision is to now beat Real Madrid," the group also said.

Getafe finished sixth last season, but is struggling this year.

The team currently lies 14th in the table with 37 points. Local rivals Real Madrid are second with 77 points.

The club, in Madrid's suburbs, attract the lowest attendances in La Liga.

Real Madrid are at the top of the league table of the world's 20 richest football clubs for the sixth straight year, according to an annual study by the accountants Deloitte, which was published earlier this year.

A separate report from Sporting Intelligence has said that Barcelona and Real Madrid have the highest paid players in world sport. They are on more than $7m (£4.3m) a year, on average.

Foreign ownership in football is a growing trend. In England, nine out of 20 teams in the Premier League are already foreign owned, and US businessman Stan Kroenke has recently made a bid for Arsenal.

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