East Street Investments has completed its takeover of Championship club Charlton Athletic, ending Roland Duchatelet’s spell as owner.
Much of Duchatelet’s tenure was dominated by friction between the Belgian and a section of supporters and he has been trying to sell the club since the end of 2017.
A deal with ESI was first announced at the end of November, subject to English Football League approval.
Charlton are 19th in the Championship.
Tahnoon Nimer and Jonathan Heller, the chairman and chief executive of Abu Dhabi Business Development, have joined Charlton as directors, while Matt Southall is the club’s new chairman.
Abu Dhabi Business Development is the private office of His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.
I believe the club is in safe hands – Duchatelet
Duchatelet said: “It was vital for the long-term health of Charlton Athletic that this deal was completed at the very start of the January transfer window.
“It allows the new owners to commit resources to the football side in order to bring in new players who will help secure the club’s position in the Championship.
“This is a hugely exciting time for everybody involved with Charlton Athletic and I believe the club is in safe hands with His Excellency Tahnoon Nimer, Matt Southall and Jonathan Heller.”
New Charlton chairman Southall added: “This is a great opportunity for ESI and we are thankful to Roland Duchatelet and his team for giving us the chance to build on such strong foundations.
“Now, for us, the hard work begins. We already have plans in place to support Lee (Bowyer, Charlton manager) and his staff over the next month.
“But most important is strengthening our links with both the fans and the Charlton community so they may understand our short-term and long-term plans for the club and how we intend to build on the amazing support and goodwill already shown to ESI.”
Duchatelet’s reign ends
Duchatelet took control of Charlton in January 2014, adding them to his portfolio of clubs that stretched across Europe.
But a group of supporters objected to how he and former chief executive Katrien Meire were running the club and formed a coalition group called Campaign Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD), urging Duchatelet to sell.
Five managerial changes were made in his first two years of ownership and Charlton were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2015-16 season, during which a series of protests were staged by fans.
On one occasion a game against Coventry City in October 2016 was interrupted when plastic toy pigs were thrown onto the pitch.
Charlton regained their place in the second tier of English football last May, beating Sunderland 2-1 in the League One play-off final.