Investors end Charlton interest

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The Independent Online

Zabeel Investments has pulled out of a deal to buy Charlton Athletic, the Championship club confirmed yesterday. The Dubai-based investors, who had also been linked with a takeover of Newcastle, made an indicative offer for the club earlier this month.

A Charlton statement said: "Zabeel Investments has informed Charlton that the decision not to proceed was taken on the basis that its focus moving forward will be on domestic opportunities in Dubai that complement the current Zabeel Investments portfolio.

"This, combined with the current debate around foreign ownership of football clubs and the worsening economic climate in the UK, contributed to the decision of Zabeel Investments to pull out."

The news will come as a blow to the Addicks, who have reported debts of £20m and were ready to sell. The club are in the final year of their parachute payments having been relegated from the Premier League in 2007 and dropped to 20th in the table following Tuesday night's home defeat by Bristol City. The manager Alan Pardew is under growing pressure at the club and vowed after their latest defeat to shake up his playing squad

There were reports this week that Zabeel had turned its attentions to Everton, although it insists it is no longer in the market for an English club. It has also been linked with a move to buy West Ham but it appears it has gone cold in its interest in football.

The statement continued: "Zabeel Investments has made it clear to Charlton that this decision was not made as a result of any discoveries during the due diligence process.

"Contrary to recent press reports, Zabeel Investments has confirmed to Charlton that it has not approached any other club since it made an indicative offer for Charlton Athletic on October 10, nor has it authorised any approach on its behalf.

"In addition, Zabeel Investments has confirmed it has no current intention to acquire any English football club for the foreseeable future."

A spokesman for Zabeel Investments added: "Zabeel Investments has the highest regard for both the supporters of Charlton and the way in which Charlton is managed and wishes the team every success in their quest for promotion this season and moving forward."

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