LONDON: Mohamed Al Fayed has ended his 16-year stint as Fulham owner by selling the club to Shahid Khan, owner of NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars for more than £150,000.
Khan, 62, a billionaire car-parts entrepreneur, is the sixth American owner of a Premier League club.
During his time in charge, Egyptian Al Fayed, 84, took Fulham from the third tier to the top flight and into Europe. He said: “It has been a pleasure and privilege to be chairman of Fulham football club for 16 memorable years.”
Pakistan-born Khan, who moved to the United States aged 16, employs thousands of people through his car parts business.
He said: “Fulham is the perfect club at the perfect time for me. I want to be clear, I do not view myself so much as the owner of Fulham, but a custodian of the club on behalf of its fans.
“My priority is to ensure the club and Craven Cottage each have a viable and sustainable Premier League future that fans of present and future generations can be proud of.
“We will manage the club’s financial and operational affairs with prudence and care, with youth development and community programmes as fundamentally important elements of Fulham’s future.”
Khan bought Jacksonville Jaguars in December 2011, but they struggled last season, finishing bottom of AFC South with two wins from 14 matches. The Jaguars are scheduled to play one regular-season NFL ‘home’ game at Wembley each year from 2013 to 2016, starting in October against the San Francisco 49ers.
In a statement Al Fayed called Khan “a living embodiment of the American success story” and said they met twice before completing the deal.
“I am now delighted to be passing this great and historic club into the care and stewardship of an outstanding man who has already achieved much in his life and will, I am sure, take Fulham on to even greater things,” said the former Harrods owner.
Al Fayed bought Fulham for a reported £30m in 1997 and provided the funds which helped the Cottagers’ rise from the third tier of English football to the Premier League.