EFL clears takeover of promotion-chasing Reading

Premier League play-off hopefuls to be bought by Chinese investors.

19 May 2017 Eoin Connolly
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The English Football League (EFL), the organising body for English soccer's second, third and fourth tiers, has approved a takeover of promotion-chasing Reading FC by Chinese property investors and siblings Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li.

The pair will now be cleared to take a 75 per cent controlling stake in the second-tier soccer club, who finished third in the Championship table and will take on Huddersfield Town in the Championship Play-Off Final on Monday 29th May for the right to play in the Premier League next season. The Dais have been negotiating since November with Reading's existing sole owners, a Thai consortium led by Lady Sasima Srivikorn.

The EFL gave conditional approval for the deal in April but it has been reported that the Premier League, which gives input into the ownership status of teams who may compete in its competition, had been cautious about the deal due to aspects of the Dais' commercial history. Dai Yongge had earlier failed in an attempt to buy recently relegated Premier League club Hull City over concerns, later allayed, that he did not control the funds he was intending to use to complete the purchase. The Dais' takeover of Reading will remain subject to further oversight by the EFL.

The previous owners will retain a 25 per cent stake.

'The EFL can confirm that they have no objections to the change of control application made by Reading Football Club,' read an official statement issued by the EFL.

'Following a full review of the transaction, the EFL has insisted upon – and the club/new owners have agreed to – a number of additional reporting requirements including enhanced financial monitoring.

'This is so as to ensure that their performance is consistent with the application we have considered.

'We would like to wish the new majority shareholders Mr Yongge Dai and Miss Xui Li Dai the very best of luck in their future endeavours with the club.'

Nigel Howe, the Reading chief executive, said: “Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are investing in a club with undoubted potential – investment which will benefit not only the first-team squad, but which will also help to improve the club's training facilities, continue to support its category-one academy programme and actively assist in delivering plans to develop the Royal Elm Park proposal.”

Dai Yongge is the chairman of Renhe Commercial, which operates a network of underground shopping centres in China and is owned by his sister Dai Xiu Li.

Managed by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, Reading beat Fulham 1-0 at their Madejski Stadium home on Tuesday to complete a 2-1 aggregate win in the play-off semi-final and set up a Wembley Stadium meeting with Huddersfield in a game often described as the richest in club soccer.

Huddersfield beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-2 on penalties to book their place in the final.

The English Football League (EFL), the organising body for English soccer's second, third and fourth tiers, has approved a takeover of promotion-chasing Reading FC by Chinese property investors and siblings Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li.

The pair will now be cleared to take a 75 per cent controlling stake in the second-tier soccer club, who finished third in the Championship table and will take on Huddersfield Town in the Championship Play-Off Final on Monday 29th May for the right to play in the Premier League next season. The Dais have been negotiating since November with Reading's existing sole owners, a Thai consortium led by Lady Sasima Srivikorn.

The EFL gave conditional approval for the deal in April but it has been reported that the Premier League, which gives input into the ownership status of teams who may compete in its competition, had been cautious about the deal due to aspects of the Dais' commercial history. Dai Yongge had earlier failed in an attempt to buy recently relegated Premier League club Hull City over concerns, later allayed, that he did not control the funds he was intending to use to complete the purchase. The Dais' takeover of Reading will remain subject to further oversight by the EFL.

The previous owners will retain a 25 per cent stake.

'The EFL can confirm that they have no objections to the change of control application made by Reading Football Club,' read an official statement issued by the EFL.

'Following a full review of the transaction, the EFL has insisted upon – and the club/new owners have agreed to – a number of additional reporting requirements including enhanced financial monitoring.

'This is so as to ensure that their performance is consistent with the application we have considered.

'We would like to wish the new majority shareholders Mr Yongge Dai and Miss Xui Li Dai the very best of luck in their future endeavours with the club.'

Nigel Howe, the Reading chief executive, said: “Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are investing in a club with undoubted potential – investment which will benefit not only the first-team squad, but which will also help to improve the club's training facilities, continue to support its category-one academy programme and actively assist in delivering plans to develop the Royal Elm Park proposal.”

Dai Yongge is the chairman of Renhe Commercial, which operates a network of underground shopping centres in China and is owned by his sister Dai Xiu Li.

Managed by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, Reading beat Fulham 1-0 at their Madejski Stadium home on Tuesday to complete a 2-1 aggregate win in the play-off semi-final and set up a Wembley Stadium meeting with Huddersfield in a game often described as the richest in club soccer.

Huddersfield beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-2 on penalties to book their place in the final.