The takeover of Charlton Athletic was completed today when Belgian millionaire Roland Duchatelet saw a deal thought to be worth £20m go through.
Duchatelet, 67, who also owns Belgian club Standard Liege, has ended months of uncertainty surrounding the Championship side and his arrival is likely to mean Charlton boss Chris Powell will have money to invest in the transfer window, according to the Evening Standard.
The business tycoon is estimated to be worth £418m and is a high-profile figure in his homeland, where he has also founded a small social liberal political party.
Richard Murray, who will remain on the board and become non-executive chairman, said: “I look forward to using my long experience in English football to continue to represent the club that has been my passion for many years. Charlton can benefit from Roland’s network in many different ways, like finding suitable players to strengthen the squad.”
Outgoing chairman Michael Slater will step down from the board along with Tony Jimenez and Martin Prothero after a short handover period. Slater said: “In every important respect we leave the club in a far better state than when we took over three years ago but now is the time to pass the baton to Roland who has a proven track record of success in business and football. We believe we’ve found an investor with extensive knowledge of football who is well placed to stabilise the club in the Championship and help develop it on a sensible commercial basis.”
The takeover comes after a bid from American billionaire Josh Harris collapsed last month. London property developer Kevin Cash, who has been bankrolling Charlton, was no longer prepared to fund the club.
The new owner will now decide the future of Powell, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Talks had been put on hold until the takeover went through.
“I want to manage here,” said Powell before the takeover was completed. “Of course we have got to see what the future brings and whether this takeover happens. Then we will go from there.”
A number of players, including Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermorgant are also out of contract in the summer.
Tomorrow’s FA Cup tie with Oxford United has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. A pitch inspection at The Valley this morning deemed it unplayable following the recent heavy rain.