Evangelos Marinakis completes long-awaited takeover of Nottingham Forest

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Marinakis had been linked with a takeover for months. (Photo: Municipality of Piraeus)

Nottingham Forest’s takeover by Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has been completed.

The deal was officially confirmed by Forest at 4.45pm on Thursday. Marinakis has completed a 100 per cent buy out of the club from Fawaz Al-Hasawi.

His first announcement included a promise to cut season ticket prices for next season, a new board including chairman, and a pledge to appoint ex-players to other senior roles.

The Reds had been awaiting English Football League (EFL) confirmation that the Greek shipping magnate has passed its owners’ and directors’ test – this was confirmed after several days of speculation.

In a club statement, Marinakis said: “What we have achieved in national and European football with Olympiacos FC, we want to duplicate with Nottingham Forest.

“Forest is one of England’s oldest clubs and one with a proud history of national and international excellence. Our objective is to bring back the glory days.

“We are football people to the core and we love and know the game. Our team has demonstrated that we know how to create success in football by having won title after title with Olympiacos in Greek football.

“We want to rekindle Forest’s past success and we are committed to the club for the long-term. What the club needs is a solid and time-tested management, a professional board, and above all, the best possible football management and players.

Olympiacos are the reigning Greek Super League champions, and regularly qualify for the Champions League group stages.

The club also announced the appointment of sports lawyer Nicholas Randall to the club’s board as chairman.

Marinakis also told the BBC: “The choice of Nottingham is based on the criteria of what has happened in the past and the potential that this club has.”

He added: “I’m not going to promise you things – I’m not a rich guy that just came from abroad to spend my money to gain glory by acquiring a team in the UK, I have glories from my time with Olympiacos, we have won everything, and have broken every record, both within our country and within Europe, what I want to do is, not to promise a lot of things, but to work hard, talk as less [sic] as possible, and work hard and achieve things.”

The deal ends the five-year reign of Kuwaiti owner Fawaz Al Hasawi – an era which nearly ended in relegation to League One.

The takeover has been in the pipeline for months but has been in doubt as Marinakis faced allegations of match fixing in his homeland, which he has always denied which could have prevented him from passing the Football League test.

The club also announced the appointment of Ioannis Vrentzos as CEO, Samantha Gordon as CFO, and David Cook as CCO.

Marinakis has led Olympiacos to success at home and in Europe. (Photo: NFFC)

Al Hasawi had appeared close to selling the Reds to American baseball owner, John Jay Moores, in January, but the deal collapsed.

Moores later claimed a second offer to buy a 100 per cent stake at the club was ‘not accepted’ by Al Hasawi.

As the deal was announced Al-Hasawi tweeted: “I would like to wish all the best for Nottingham and I hope the next season will be the best for NFFC.”

The Reds narrowly survived the drop to the third tier on goal difference, beating Ipswich Town 3-0 at the City Ground, thanks to a brace from Britt Assombalonga and an effort from skipper Chris Cohen.

Marinakis added: “We believe that in Mark Warburton and his team the right people were selected to take the club forward on the pitch by delivering the passing game that the club’s supporters love, and for which Nottingham Forest are known and remembered throughout the world.
“We will provide Mark and his team with the time and support necessary to rebuild the team and create the conditions for success.
“In this regard I am pleased to confirm that we have agreed a contract extension for Frank McParland as Sport Director. The players performed magnificently in the crucial match against Ipswich Town and the way they responded to and implemented Mark’s game plan is a credit to the environment he has created.
“But the fans are one of the club’s most important assets: in recognition of the exceptional role played by all fans who stood by the club through difficult times, we have decided to reduce the price for season tickets for the next season to make it more affordable to local fans. It is crucial for the club to give back to fans as this is a joint effort to bring back success.
“In a further step towards honouring Nottingham Forest’s past, we shall bring back as many people as possible, in particular of course former players, who played a decisive role in building Forest’s legacy. They deserve our respect and we want to make them part of our collective effort to rebuild this exceptional club.”
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