Dubaian Top Investor in Scottish Soccer Giant

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

rangers-008A Dubai-based businessman has been named as the single largest shareholder in historic Scottish football club Rangers, however the value of such an investment is not as great as it would have been just a year ago. Arif Naqvi, chief executive and founder of private equity firm Abraaj Capital owns just under 18 percent in the club which went into liquidation during the summer, the BBC reported. The BBC also reported that Naqvi agreed to invest two million pounds in the club this past June.

Rangers were founded in 1872 and were one of the ten founding members of the Scottish Football League. They dominated the top division until the end of the 2011–12 season, when the company became financially insolvent and declared bankruptcy. After failing to agree a settlement with its creditors, Rangers’ assets, business and history were bought by a consortium of investors who then reformed the club as a new entity. However, their application for admittance to the Scottish Premier League was rejected, and they had to settle for a place in the Third Division starting with the 2012–13 season.

In Scottish football, Rangers have won more league titles than any other club in the world, winning the league title 54 times, the Scottish Cup 33 times and the Scottish League Cup 27 times, and achieving all three in the same season as the treble seven times. In European football, Rangers were the first British club to reach a UEFA European tournament final. They won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 after being runner up twice in 1961 and 1967. A third runners up finish came in the UEFA Cup in 2008. Rangers have a long-standing rivalry with Celtic since the late 1800’s. These two powerhouse Glasgow clubs are collectively known as the Old Firm.

Naqvi, who founded Abraaj in 2002 and has raised $7bn since then, said in March he believes an IPO will provide the company with a currency to continue to grow.Dubai-based Abraaj Capital, the Middle East’s largest private equity firm, owns stakes in Orascom Construction, budget carrier Air Arabia and supermarket chain Spinneys.


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