Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA basketball franchise, yesterday (Monday) acquired a majority shareholding in Real Mallorca, the deal with club president, Utz Claassen, having been signed at midday in Madrid. Sarver and Claassen attended a club shareholders' meeting yesterday evening in Palma. Sarver has injected some 21 million euros into the club, in return for which he and his associates have received 80% of the shares. These associates are Andy Kohlberg, the vice-president of Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash and one other; Sarver and Kohlberg between them hold 72%. Utz Claassen remains club president and retains 20% of the shares.

Sarver, it is understood, will pay off 38 million euros of debt at some point, while he is also prepared to inject significant amounts of investment if and when the team is promoted to La Liga.

To oversee all this, there is to be a new managing director who will have responsibility for administrative and sporting affairs. He is the Swiss footballer, 33-year-old Maheta Molango, who is currently playing for a team in the Madrid regional league but is a specialist in sports law and has assisted Sarver in previous football club acquisition attempts. This appointment seems to leave no room for current sporting director, Miquel Angel Nadal. It is said that Nadal has offered to stand down from his position if he does not fit in with the plans of the new owners.