Syrian player to join England’s Nottingham Forest FC, now owned by Kuwait
The Syrian player, Firas al-Khatib, announced late Wednesday night that he will join the English football club, Nottingham Forest.
Just a day earlier, it was announced that a Kuwaiti family had bought twice European Cup winners Nottingham Forest, the English Championship (second division) club.
In a statement on the club’s website, Fawaz, Abdulaziz and Omar al-Hasawi said: “It is an honor and privilege for the al-Hasawi family to assume control of this great club steeped in history and with the outstanding legacy left by its previous owner Nigel Doughty,” the statement said.
Khatib, a former player of Qadesya club in Kuwait, told Al Arabiya that he will fly to the UK on Sunday to join his new team. He said Nottingham Forest’s coach has chosen him after watching a video of him playing and scoring goals with the Kuwaiti club.
The player, 29, has recently grabbed headlines when he spoke against the Syrian regime. He condemned the regime’s violence against Syrian civilians and vowed never to wear his native country’s national football team uniform until violence and bombings of Syrian cities come to an end, especially against his home city, Homs.
In an interview with Al Arabiya on Wendesday, Abdulaziz expressed hopes about bringing the club to its former glories, adding that he chose to purchase the club because of its history.
The new owner declined to discuss the details of the deal, though he did say that the club’s financial matters had to be sorted out.
Abdulaziz said he has been pursuing this deal since May and now that he is the owner, he has no intention of interfering in the affairs.
“The coach will make the technical decisions and we only provide him with his requirements,” he said.
Former Forest chairman Nigel Doughty died in February aged 54 after investing almost 100 million pounds ($154.95 million) in a failed attempt to turn the club's fortunes around.
Forest is one of only eight clubs to retain the European Cup, securing their second title in 1980. They have not played in the Premier League since they were relegated in 1999.