Martin Semmens has quashed the rumour suggesting Saints were being lined up by a group of US investors. Sky Sports claimed that there has been interest in Gao Jisheng’s 80 per cent stake in the club. However, the coronavirus pandemic is said to have put the group of US investors’ plans on ice.
Speaking to BBC Radio Solent, Saints’ chief executive, Martin Semmens said: “I don’t think so.I talk to Mr Gao and Katharina every week and they’ve never discussed this with me, so I think it’s pretty unlikely. I did read the report about that US interest, and if you read it again, there’s no fact in it and no detail that is correct.”
Gao bought his stake in the club for £210million back in 2017, leaving Katharina Liebherr with 20 per cent.
Semmens was also involved in Friday’s Premier League meeting where the desire to finish the season was reiterated.
Martin Semmens said “Everybody wants to know where we are going and when we are going to play,. I think the important thing to stress before we get into the processes is that in reality, it is not a decision that Southampton Football Club is making and in a lot of ways, not really one that the Premier League make on their own. It’s a government decision and that relationship with the government and the important and qualified people there is really what is key. The government make the decision on when we go back to training and when we go back to playing. I think they are now in a position, and I think they have been openly clear about that, that they feel we’re over the initial peak of the virus and therefore they can begin to talk about getting us all back to work when we can.”
Top-flight clubs are searching for a way to end the 2019/20 campaign amid a global pandemic. In what has been dubbed ‘Project Restart’, it was determined that the Premier League would need up to 40,000 coronavirus tests to complete the remaining 92 games. As well as that, Friday’s video conference also paved the way for the matches to be played at neutral venues.
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