Portsmouth today expressed surprise following claims that Sulaiman al Fahim intends to quit the club and pass on his shareholding to the supporters’ trust.
Al Fahim, who owns 10 per cent of shares in Portsmouth, is reportedly set to resign from his role as non-executive chairman at Fratton Park and hand over his holding to the fans’ group.
Portsmouth director of communications Gary Double said: “This is news to the club. We have not been informed of Sulaiman’s intention to resign from the board.
“Last week he was reported to be interested in buying the club again. It is something of a surprise.”
The Dubai businessman is one of four people to have owned the ailing Premier League club this season, having taken over from Alexandre Gaydamak last summer before selling a majority stake to Ali Al Faraj.
Despite relinquishing ownership to Al Faraj, he retained a minor interest in the club and was also given the non-executive chairman role.
Portsmouth could soon have a fifth owner in the 2009/10 season after chief executive Peter Storrie revealed he is waiting to receive proof of funds from a South African consortium.
“It’s a very simple, straightforward position,” Storrie told Sky Sports News.
“As far as general negotiations are concerned that’s about complete. It is now all about proof of funds. If proof of funds can come through bona fide banks then (current owner) Balram Chainrai is in London and is prepared to push ahead and get the deal done.
“The ball is very much in their court to show us they have the actual funds. We’ve gone through too many things over the last year, people that have come in who have said they have the funds to take the club forward, when they haven’t.
“This is all about proving to us, the board and the owner, that the money is there to take the club forward.
“To be fair to them they have provided proof of funds through a lawyer, but we need to see it from a bank. We need to see it, the Premier League need to see it, everyone needs to see it.”
Colin Farmery of the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust revealed his organisation had been speaking to Al Fahim but nothing definite had been decided.
Farmery told Sky Sports News: “It was initially mooted at a meeting in November and he went public with this idea in January.
“As a group we had a meeting with Mr Al Fahim in January, before the West Ham game, where we discussed his offer in a little bit more detail.
“At the moment nothing is signed, sealed and delivered. This is very much something that is still in negotiation and ultimately will be something that the Trust will need to make a decision on.
“Clearly a 10% stake in a football club has got to have some significance and as a Trust our remit is to act in the best interests of the club.”