Billionaire walks out on Omonia FC takeover

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The fate of Omonia Nicosia FC is hanging in the balance as a deal by Cypriot expat billionaire John Christodoulou to take over from wealthy investor Stavros Papastavrou has suddenly fallen through.

Monaco-based Cypriot billionaire Christodoulou was set to take over Omonia FC in a deal worth around €28 mln, from the current major stakeholder, New-York based Papastavrou.

Christodoulou on Wednesday tweeted the deal had gone south.

“It is with great sadness and disappointment that I announce that the negotiations have come to an end without reaching an agreement.

“My love for OMONIA is a given and will remain forever in my heart. I wish every success to the fans and the team,” tweeted London property tycoon Christodoulou.

The reason behind the surprise collapse is not yet known, but the club has refuted rumours saying it had intervened to boycott the deal.

The club, suffering its worst start to a season, had thrived in the previous two years under Papastavrou’s stewardship.

During 2019-2020, Omonia was awarded first place after the championship was called off due to the pandemic.

First place earned them the ticket to the lucrative Champions League.

Omonia was knocked out in the playoffs by Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus, but the club had earned a spot in the second-tier Europa League group stage.

It was the first time the club participated in a European tournament group stage in its 73-year history.

The club generated more than €8 mln from its European escapades.

Last year, Nicosia’s Greens completed their most successful season after winning the league, earning the chance to claim glory in the Champions League once more.

However, the club was knocked out of the Champions League and the Europa League to find its way in the newly formed Europa Conference League group stage.

Earnings so far have been close to 4.5 mln.

However, the club has been underperforming, collecting just one point in the Conference League, while Omonia is currently tenth in the championship, one spot above the relegation zone.

Papastavrou was reportedly looking for a way to disengage from the club due to his involvement in the banking sector in the US.

His incursion into the banking sector, and the fact he is based in the United States, have made it difficult for him to remain involved in running the club.

Due to the rapid growth of his business activities in the US, Papastavrou is faced with legal obstacles that forbid him from owning a sports club abroad.

According to US law, venturing into the banking sector excludes major shareholders from owning shares of a foreign club.

Papastavrou will hold a press conference on Friday to address the issue of the failed deal and the club’s poor performance.