Nottingham Forest have moved closer to a potential takeover after the estate of Nigel Doughty granted a period of exclusivity to the Al-Hasawi family.
The Al-Hasawis, from Kuwait, will now conduct due diligence in conjunction with the estate and senior management within the club.
"Future on-field and off-field success of Nottingham Forest is at the heart of our plans," a family statement said.
Forest's board have said they will not make any further comment.
Doughty put the club up for sale in October 2011, although his sudden passing four months later added complications to the sale.
The family's interest in the football club first emerged at the end of May, although there was no comment from Forest at that time.
Businessman Fawaz Al-Hasawi had been chairman of Al-Quadisya Sports Club in his native country, but his decision to step down was a precursor to interest in investment within English football.
Should the deal go through, the Al-Hasawis will be investing in a football club steeped in history, the third oldest in the Football League.
Under the management of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, Forest rose from the second tier of the Football League to two-time European champions within four seasons, establishing the name of the club across the world.
However, leaner times followed, a brace of League Cups in the late 1980s proving the exception rather than the rule.
A decade of yo-yoing between the Premier League and the division below culminated in the club facing oblivion after an unsuccessful floatation on the stock exchange.
Intervention from Doughty, a genuine supporter, helped rebuild the club financially, although recovering past glories has proved difficult - with relegation to League One in 2005 a major blow.
Forest eventually returned to the Championship after a three-year absence but, after two consecutive unsuccessful play-off campaigns, they failed to recapture that form last term, finishing 19th.