Saudi takeover of Galway United:

Galway United supporters have voted to accept an offer from Saudi investors to take a majority shareholding in the club.

The vote saw 68 members vote in favour, 10 against and one abstained.

Galway United is currently owned in its entirety by the Galway United Friends Co-Operative, a group of less than 100 fans, but they will now cede majority interest to the Saudi duo of Abdulrahman Al Nemer and Mohammed Al Ruwaite.

It’s understood the two Saudi businessmen will now make an initial investment of €500,000 into the club within days.

Both have been involved in sports related investments in the past.

While the supporters co-operative is remaining tight-lipped on the exact sum of money involved, vice chairman Bernie O’Connell confirmed that a “very, very substantial figure” was on the table.

The proposed investment has already been reviewed by the Football Association of Ireland.

It involves significant financial guarantees, including investment aimed at securing promotion to the League of Ireland Premier Division, funding to enhance underage structures and the appointment of personnel to support the “long term development of the club”.

All paid up members were invited to a Special General Meeting at which the proposal will be discussed.

Mr O’Connell, the current vice chairman, said that the offer had come about as a result of local contacts with Saudi investors.

These discussions had covered a range of topics when the notion of involvement with Galway United arose.

This had then been examined in greater detail to the point where a blueprint for the potential investment was developed.

Mr O’Connell said the investment would have a huge impact on the League of Ireland in general and on Galway United in particular.

He said the Football Association of Ireland had been kept abreast of the matter from the beginning.

The FAI was aware of the import of the proposal and the background of the personnel involved.

The investors were not at tonight’s meeting but were awaiting the news with “the greatest interest”.

Mr O’Connell said fans would be represented on the board of the new entity.

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