Sudeva International, the owners of I-League second division club Sudeva Moonlight, has acquired ownership of Spanish fourth-tier side Olimpic Xativa for an undisclosed amount, it was revealed on Friday. Sudeva were involved in a two-horse race to buy the club along with a Colombian consortium.
At the extraordinary assembly of the club earlier this month, Sudeva got 82 votes while the Colombians managed just 7, which gave the Indians 85 percent stakes in the club. Xativa play in the Tercera Division of Spanish football, which is divided into 18 regions. Each region has around 20 to 22 teams. Xativa, who were relegated to this division three years ago, play in Group 6 – Valencian community region and finished seventh this season, failing to reach the promotion playoffs.
Anuj Gupta, the co-owner of Sudeva FC, said his target is to ensure promotion for Xativa next season while at the same time, use the club’s facilities for the development of young Indian footballers. “We plan to take promising Indian footballers on scholarship and hope to bring the club to India for grassroots activities and friendly matches,” Gupta, a lawyer by profession and a vice-president of Delhi football association, said.
Gupta said he had been scouting for clubs in Germany and Spain when, earlier this year, he was made aware of Xativa being on sale. Unlike most Spanish clubs, Xativa was a registered company and not an association, which made it possible to buy it. And the club itself was going through a financial crisis.
“We were also looking for a place that is conducive for Indians to train. In Germany it is too cold and physically, they are stronger than Indians. The weather here is much better for our players and the club’s facilities are perfect,” Gupta said, adding that Xativa have a 9,000-seater stadium of their own along with training grounds.
Gupta, along with his partner Vijay Hakari, started Sudeva in 2014. The club’s training facility in Delhi was used as a training ground for the 2017 under-17 World Cup. The club, which has a residential academy, also competed in the second division I-League last year
Gupta is the second Indian to own a football club in Spain. In 2011, businessman Ahsan Ali Syed bought majority stakes in La Liga side Racing Santander but his tenure was riddled with controversies, including financial irregularities.