Greek businessman Evangelos Marinakis has completed his purchase of second-tier English soccer side Nottingham Forest.
The shipping magnate passed the English Football League's (EFL) owners’ and directors’ test, and his holding company, NF Football Investments, is now set to purchase 100 per cent of the shares in the two-time European champions. The deal will see Marinakis take an 80 per cent stake, with his business partner Sokratis Kominakis holding the remaining 20 per cent.
Marinakis also owns Greek giants Olympiakos, and is currently under investigation by Uefa in relation to accusations of match-fixing in his native country. He has denied all allegations, saying they were made by his "jealous" opponents.
Marinakis has vowed to return Nottingham Forest to the Premier League, after a spell of 19 years spent in the second and third tiers of English soccer. The club won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980 under their iconic former manager Brian Clough.
“We have a long-term plan and within this long-term plan we want to bring Nottingham to where it belongs,” said Marinakis. “And of course Nottingham belongs in the Premier League. And Nottingham belongs to the elite of the Premier League. Furthermore, the supporters of Nottingham have been tired all these years, they didn’t have such good times. But they remained loyal and for us that’s very important."
Marinakis appointed Leeds-based law firm Walker Morris Sports Group to advise on the takeover. Walker Morris has previously played a significant role in installing new owners at several English soccer sides including Bolton Wanderers, Leeds United, Crystal Palace and, most recently, Reading.
Forest narrowly avoided relegation from the Championship to League One, English soccer's third tier, in 2016/17, securing their place with victory over Ipswich Town on the final day.