Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan set to buy Fulham for $225 million?

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Is the Mohamed Al Fayed dynasty close to an end at Fulham Football Club?

If you believe reports from London this morning then it is edging near, as the mega-rich owner has apparently put Fulham up for sale.

The potential buyer may surprise you, but also excite you. Jacksonville Jaguar owner Shad Khan is apparently in pole position to buy the swish West London side.

Any potential deal is being closely guarded by Fulham, but sources suggest a fee of $225 million would be enough to make Khan the sixth US owner of an EPL side. The Pakistani-American has already agreed for the Jaguars to play at Wembley in each of the next four seasons, maybe his roots in London will strengthen by adding Fulham to his portfolio?

But focusing on the current owner, Al Fayed is deemed a “legend” in many respects across English soccer and the business world. The Egyptian businessmen formerly owned the luxury, world-renowned department story Harrods in London’s swanky Kensington neighborhood but many soccer fans have seen his familiar face in the stands following Fulham’s promotion to the English Premier League side back in 2001.

But after 16 years in charge and pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the West London club, Al Fayed is set to sale his beloved club with Fulham now an established Premier League outfit.

(MORE: Considering Fulham’s parade of Yanks through the years)

The project has been an incredible one from start to finish, as Al Fayed proved his strong business acumen once more by buying struggling fourth division Fulham for just $10 million back in 1997. He then helped steer the club to the EPL and poured over $300 million into the side by adding top players over the years such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Clint Dempsey and Dimitar Berbatov.

Al Fayed has also renovated Craven Cottage into a top class stadium while still keeping its charm and quaint nature. (Hence the famous Cottage remaining in one corner of the ground.) A statue of Michael Jackson outside the venue also gives you an idea of the high circles Al Fayed moves in. He really is a hugely powerful man who may believe now is the best time to sell.

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Will Fulham’s owner Al-Fayed sell his beloved club to Khan?

Also, let us not forget the huge American influence at Craven Cottage since they joined the EPL. US internationals Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride have captained Fulham, while current Seattle forward Eddie Johnson has also played for Cottagers. And how can we forget the most notable US star to shine brightly down by the banks of the River Thames: Clint Dempsey.

So with all these links to the US, it would be a pretty smart move for a US businessmen or owner to look into acquiring Fulham. And that is apparently in the cards.

Khan, owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, is friendly with Al Fayed and is said to be extremely interested in buying the club. If this did happen, more US stars could soon be flocking to West London and the return of “Fuhamerica” could take place.

We’d all love that.

The report seems to be close to the mark, we shall see how it pans out. But Al Fayed’s illustrious legacy in the EPL and at Fulham will always be remembered fondly, regardless of any potential new owner.

But exciting times will lie ahead at Craven Cottage if Khan gets his hands on the EPL side. Watch this space.

Lippi leads China over SKorea 1-0 in World Cup qualifier

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Marcello Lippi earned his biggest victory since taking over as coach of China’s national soccer team, leading his squad to a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

The coach, who led his native Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, was hired by China in October.

Yu Dabao scored the lone goal at Helong Stadium in Changsha with a header in the 34th minute, giving China only its second victory over South Korea in 32 matches.

China spent much of the second half defending with the visitors piling on the pressure. Ki Seung-yeung and Ji Dong-won both went close for South Korea but could not find a way past China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.

South Korea has 10 points from six matches in Group A and is still on course to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. China, which last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, has five points.

Only the top two teams from the six-nation group qualify automatically. The third-place team will head to the playoffs.

CONMEBOL wrap: Brazil routs Uruguay, Messi guides Argentina past Chile

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A roundup of Thursday’s action from around CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying…

[ MORE: USMNT looks to build momentum against Honduras in WCQ ]

Paulinho‘s hat-trick helped bring Brazil back from an early deficit as the Selecao topped Uruguay, 4-1. Edinson Cavani put the hosts ahead after nine minutes from the penalty spot, but it was Paulinho that answered 10 minutes later for his first of the night. Neymar also tallied for the Brazilians, who continue to lead CONMEBOL qualifying with 30 points.

Lionel Messi scored in the first half to help lift Argentina over Chile, 1-0. The Barcelona attacker scored after 16 minutes when Angel di Maria was taken down inside the Chilean area by José Fuenzalida. Chile was held to just one shot on target throughout, and the loss leaves the reigning Copa America winners on the outside looking in at the top five.

James Rodriguez rescued Colombia on Thursday as the Real Madrid winger capitalized off of his penalty-kick rebound to give Los Cafeteros a 1-0 win over Bolivia. Goalkeeper Carlos Lampe did his best to preserve a draw for the visitors, recording six saves on the afternoon, however, it wasn’t enough to tame Colombia.

Meanwhile, Paraguay knocked off Ecuador, 2-1, behind goals from Bruno Valdez and Junior Alonso. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when Felipe Caicedo converted from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough for Ecuador.

Peru battled back with two second-half goals to preserve a 2-2 draw against Venezuela on the road. The hosts got out to a 2-0 advantage before halftime when Mikel Villanueva and Romulu Otero scored for Venezuela, however, the Peruvians struck back in the second stanza to knick a point. Andre Carrillo and Paolo Guerrero scored in the 46th and 64th minutes, respectively, for Peru.


Thursday’s results

Colombia 1-0 Bolivia
Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
Uruguay 1-4 Brazil
Argentina 1-0 Chile
Venezuela 2-2 Peru


Updated CONMEBOL table

  1. Brazil — 9-3-1 — 30 pts.
  2. Uruguay — 7-2-4 — 23 pts.
  3. Argentina — 6-4-3 — 22 pts.
  4. Colombia — 6-3-4 — 21 pts.
  5. Ecuador — 6-2-4 — 20 pts.
  6. Chile — 6-2-5 — 20 pts.
  7. Paraguay — 5-3-5 — 18 pts.
  8. Peru — 4-3-6 — 15 pts.
  9. Bolivia — 2-1-9 — 7 pts.
  10. Venezuela — 1-3-9 — 6 pts.

Ex-Disney CEO Eisner eyes English soccer club Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., is in talks to buy English soccer club Portsmouth.

The fourth-tier club says it has entered into a 70-day exclusivity agreement with Eisner for takeover talks to take place.

Eisner wrote on Twitter: “Exciting times! Looking forward to coming over and meeting you all. Good luck against Newport County on Saturday!!”

Portsmouth, which is based on the south coast, spent beyond its means in the pursuit of glory. The team endured financial turmoil in the years following its 2008 FA Cup win, sinking from the Premier League to the fourth tier.

After entering bankruptcy protection, Portsmouth was rescued by the fans through a trust in 2013.

CONCACAF: USMNT, Trinidad & Tobago seek first points of Hexagonal

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Through two rounds of play in the Hexagonal, everything has gone according to plan for Mexico and Costa Rica.

Not so much though for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

While Los Ticos and El Tri currently sit in the top two positions of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the U.S. is left at the bottom and faces a difficult match against Honduras when play resumes on Friday night.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras match ]

Mexico and Costa Rica will face off at the Estadio Azteca in the second of Friday’s three slated qualifiers, and while both nations surely expect to reach the World Cup in Russia, both CONCACAF heavyweights have the opportunity to put their stamp on the group.

For Costa Rica, a victory could potentially open up a five-point gap over El Tri, while a win for Mexico would bring Juan Carlos Osorio’s side the opportunity leap over their Central American foes.

Friday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. though when third place Panama travels to Trinidad & Tobago, who seeks its first points of the Hex. Trinidad will be led by captain Kenwyne Jones of Atlanta United as well as Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, with the duo scoring a combined 39 international goals for the Soca Warriors.

Below is the schedule and current table ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF matches as the region turns its attention to Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal.


Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama — 7 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Costa Rica — 9:50 p.m. ET

USMNT vs. Honduras — 10:30 p.m. ET (PREVIEW)


1. Costa Rica — 2-0-0 — 6 pts.
2. Mexico — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
3. Panama — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
4. Honduras — 1-0-1 — 3 pts.
5. Trinidad & Tobago — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.
6. USMNT — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.