Getafe president on way to Dubai amid sale rumors
Getafe president Angel Torres traveled to Dubai on Wednesday amid speculation the Spanish football club will be taken over by a business group with ties to Dubai's ruling family.
Torres headed to the Gulf city a day before the Royal Emirates Group of Companies is scheduled to announce the purchase of a topflight Spanish club.
Kaiser Rafiq, a partner and managing director of the business conglomerate, said he would not ''rule out'' that the company is buying Getafe. He would only say that the deal is worth $90 million and the club being bought finished in the top six of the league last season. Getafe finished sixth.
The team's name will remain unchanged but ''Team Dubai'' would be added to the players' shirts, the stadium and other merchandise, Rafiq said.
The Royal Emirates Group of Companies said Tuesday that it had acquired an unidentified Spanish club and would make a formal announcement Thursday.
The group is chaired by Sheikh Butti Bin Suhail Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai's ruling family.
Torres told Spanish sports daily MARCA that he had been invited by the Dubai business group ''with the idea of having meetings to look for sponsors that improve the image of Getafe and a new name for the stadium.''
He also confirmed that Getafe captain Manuel del Moral was accompanying him.
Rafiq said he is hoping the purchase raises the profile of Dubai, which has long used sports as a publicity tool. Tiger Woods and Roger Federer have visited the desert city to play in tournaments and the world's richest horse race is part of a campaign to lure tourists to its glitzy shopping malls and five-star hotels.