Fulham is Fayed's match of the day

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The Independent Online
Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods, yesterday became the chairman and major shareholder of Fulham Football Club.

And the business tycoon immediately pledged to invest heavily in the club and restore it "to its former glory". A spokesman for Harrods said the Egyptian-born businessman would invest up to pounds 30m in the club.

The takeover follows the resignation by the television pundit and former Fulham player Jimmy Hill as chairman last week.

Hill had said he would welcome a successor with the financial muscle to make the necessary improvements to the club's ground, Craven Cottage. The stadium by the banks of the Thames in west London is only a short drive from Mr Fayed's famous store in Knightsbridge.

Mr Fayed said: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to invest in such a great and historic football club which so many people hold in high esteem.

"I am totally committed, both personally and financially, to the plans for the revival of the club and I look forward to sharing a bright future with the loyal fans.''

The vice-chairman, Bill Muddyman, will continue in his position, and the financing will be provided by his family - including his son, Andy, another director - and through Mr Fayed's company Fulham Leisure Holdings.

The deal will mean new players as well as stadium improvements for Fulham, who have just been promoted to the second division.

The shareholders want to increase the capacity of the stadium from its present 15,000 to 25,000. An earlier plan for a residential development as part of a revamped stadium has been shelved.

Bill Muddyman said: "For Andy, myself and other members of the board this marriage between Fulham FC and Mr Fayed is our dream scheme come true.

"It presents a wonderful opportunity for our football club to return to its former glory and to take its place where it belongs - at the top."

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