Breaking: Rich Energy scandal takes a fresh turn

British businessman William Storey is reportedly interested in purchasing UK football team Reading FC.

Rich Energy CEO William Storey in 2019.v1

After six years at the helm of Reading FC, Chinese billionaire Dai Yongge is reportedly in the final stages of selling his ownership stake in the League One club. 

Speculation suggests that the prospective buyer is British businessman William Storey, who has seemingly reached an agreement on a £50 million takeover of the club. 

Dai Yongge acquired a controlling stake in Reading FC in May 2017, but the club’s relegation at the end of the previous season has left it in a precarious financial situation.

Storey, a former major investor in the Formula 1 team Haas, is said to be eager to conclude the deal following what have been described as productive discussions. 

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Reading’s financial woes escalated after their relegation to the third tier of English football, exacerbated by a six-point penalty incurred for breaching the EFL’s profitability and sustainability regulations.

The club’s financial challenges have extended into the current season, with two more penalties affecting their standings. 

In August, Reading was deducted one point for failing to meet player wage payments on three occasions the previous term. 

In a further setback, they received a suspended three-point penalty last month for failing to deposit the requisite funds into their accounts.

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Despite the difficulties, William Storey has identified the potential for a rewarding project in Reading FC, particularly as they aim to secure promotion back to the Championship. 

The team, currently managed by former Southampton boss Ruben Selles, has gathered just nine points from their first 11 games this season and finds themselves in the relegation places in League One.

Storey’s previous attempts to acquire ownership of second-tier clubs Sunderland and Coventry City were unsuccessful, but it appears that the Reading deal has now met with success. 

The proposed agreement is believed to include the acquisition of the Select Car Leasing Stadium, along with Reading’s state-of-the-art training facility at Bearwood Park.

It has been reported that Storey intends to address Reading’s debt issues and is committed to investing in the squad. 

Currently operating under a transfer embargo due to their financial instability, Reading is restricted from signing new players who do not meet very specific conditions.

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William Storey, a native of Richmond, was formerly involved in an ill-fated sponsorship deal with the F1 team Haas, which was terminated in September 2019. 

Rich Energy, a brand associated with Storey, has been linked to other motorsport sponsorship deals, and Storey has also managed professional boxer Frank Buglioni.

The completion of the takeover is contingent on the Football League’s meticulous fit and proper owner test, which has become more stringent in recent times.