Sheffield Wednesday: Owls takeover edges closer

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric
Owls chairman Milan Mandaric

The financial troubles affecting another club under the umbrella of incoming Sheffield Wednesday owner Hafiz Mammadov have been resolved, The Star understands.

French club RC Lens’ promotion to Ligue 1 was suspended on Friday, June 27, after they failed to meet the financial criteria required for next season.

The issue concerned a €10 million fund due from Mammadov which failed to transfer into Lens’ accounts from Azerbaijan on time, prompting the National Directorate of Management Control (DNCG)- French football’s financial regulatory body - to place their promotion on hold.

Lens president Gervais Martel claimed the delay was due to a public holiday in Azerbaijan, saying that stopped money arriving from Mammadov, whose takeover of the Owls has yet to be ratified by the Football League.

However, it is believed Mammadov has now paid the outstanding debt, paving the way for him to complete his £40m buy-out of Wednesday. More than three weeks have passed since Mammadov’s arrival was announced. All the documentation is thought to have been signed.

After Lens’ financial difficulties arose, Owls chairman Milan Mandaric said: “As far as I’m concerned, it (Lens situation) has got nothing to do with Sheffield Wednesday or our deal with Mr Mammadov. It is as simple as that.”

When contacted by this newspaper last night, Mandaric said the takeover is edging closer to being finalised. Although the deal has yet to be approved by the League, Mandaric insists there is no reason for alarm.

He said: “We are closer to a conclusion and hopefully we will have something to report next week.”