Racing Santander acquired by Indian businessman


Associated Press

Posted on January 29, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 29 at 12:32 PM

SANTANDER, Spain (AP) — Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed has acquired Spanish club Racing Santander.

Ali Syed made his first appearance at Racing's El Sardinero Stadium on Saturday after finalizing the agreement to become the team's leading shareholder late Friday in Zurich with its former owners.

"I am moved and proud to be the new owner of Real Racing Club de Santander," he said, announcing a "new page" in the history of the club that would "help it grow and situate itself among the best teams in the Spanish league."

Ali Syed had previously said in a statement that the first step toward improving Racing's squad will be bringing back Serbian striker Nikola Zigic from Birmingham for his third stint with the team.

"This is much more than a business deal. This is a passion that I want to share with the players, all the club's members, and above all with the fans," he said.

The tycoon said his heart was painted Racing's colors of green and white and that he would "invest his knowledge and economic resources" into the team.

Ali Syed is the head of Western Gulf Advisory, an investment and asset management company.

He previously lost out to poultry giant Venky in an attempt to acquire English club Blackburn.

He joins Sheik Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani as the only foreign owners in the Spanish league. Al-Thani took over Malaga in June.

Santander was formed 98 years ago but has struggled recently after failing to attract significant sponsorship. From 43 seasons in the topflight, the club has never won a major trophy and only just avoided relegation last season. The team also sold its brightest prospect, Sergio Canales, to Real Madrid last offseason for a reported €5 million ($6.8 million).

The team is in 15th place, two points above the drop zone, one game past the season's midway point.