Sheffield Wednesday: New Owls owner seeks League approval

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric.
Owls chairman Milan Mandaric.
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For Hafiz Mammadov’s takeover of Sheffield Wednesday to be ratified by the Football League, the Azerbaijani businessman must pass their owners and directors’ test.

The rules, introduced by the Football League more than 10 years ago, prohibits individuals convicted of a dishonest act or corruption from serving as a director or official of one of their member clubs.

The test, formerly known as the fit and proper person’s test, relies largely on directors “self certifying” their suitability. To comply with the Football League regulations, Mammadov will have to prove he possesses the funds required to see Wednesday, at the bare minimum, through the 2014/15 season before they give him the green light to complete his buy-out of the Championship club.

It was announced a week ago that Mammadov would be taking full control of the Owls. A Football League spokesman recently told me they “could not put a time-scale” on ratifying the takeover but Milan Mandaric, the Wednesday chairman, expects the deal to be approved.

The 75-year-old, who will stay on as chairman, said: “I don’t foresee any problems or difficulties because the man [Mammadov] qualifies every which way.

“He is a very successful businessman, a gentleman and a good football man. He is exactly what this great club needs to move forward.”

Mammadov, a former member of The Azerbaijan Football Association, also owns Azerbaijan side FC Baku and French top flight club RC Lens. A fiercely private man, Mammadov is the founder of the Baghlan Group, which specialises in oil, gas, construction and transportations.

Mammadov also has shares in Portuguese giants Porto and Spanish champions Atletico Madrid to whom he helped deliver the Azerbaijan - Land of Fire sponsorship which adorns their shirts.