Thursday, 28 June 2012

Sheikh your booty

Per Marca, Getafe's foreign entanglements in the Middle East are left looking weirder and weirder by the day.

Let's rewind a bit: two seasons ago club president Ángel Torres cemented a deal with the Royal Emirates Group to launch 'Getafe Team Dubai', a finance bid that was due to take effect this summer, clear the club's debt, and presumably turn the Azulones into the next Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Jump back to the present day and we find that Sr. Torres has fallen for a scheme only very slightly more elaborate than a 419 scam. To gain €10m of investment from a wholly fictional Arab oligarch, all he had to do was send roof of solvency to a gang seemingly fronted by, of all people, a Brazilian waiter in Catalonia. Proof of solvency, needless to say, took the form not of a bank statement or affadavit, but a wad of cash - a wad which the notoriously frugal Torres will be mourning as we speak.

Does this mean the entire REG deal is fishy? Some sources have quickly leapt to that conclusion* but it doesn't seem clear-cut at all. Today REG responded with a public statement, indicating that their 'commercial agreement' has nothing to do with the sheikhdown, and that if the waiter and his pals invoked their boss' name, they'll see them in court.

So, 'Getafe Team Dubai' still seems to be something of a reality - after all, what would the 'commercial agreement' mean otherwise? but presumably Torres will be a little more careful about whom he trusts in future.

*UPDATE: As imply that the photo in their article is one of Torres with the fake Sheikh. In fact, so far as we can tell, that is the genuine sheikh, Sheikh Butti Bin Suhail Al Maktoum, and his agreement with Getafe is quite real - at least according to Arabian Business.