sport

Al Fayed: Don't blame me

Mohamed Al Fayed has refuted claims from Fulham boss Felix Magath that he must shoulder responsibility for the club's struggles.

Championship football will be returning to Craven Cottage next season after relegation out of the Premier League was confirmed at the end of a forgettable 2013/14 campaign.

Magath was unable to steer Fulham away from danger following his appointment in February, but he has been quick to point the finger of blame elsewhere.

He feels former owner Al Fayed failed to make the required investment in the playing staff and offloaded key personnel at bad times.

Al Fayed has, however, branded the comments 'absurd', with Shahid Khan having inherited the Fulham reins from him in July 2013.

He said in a statement released to the media: "When I sold the Club to Shahid Khan on 13, July 2013, it was debt-free, in first class financial shape and had finished the previous season in respectable mid-table.

"During my ownership Fulham climbed three divisions, played in an FA Cup semi-final, won the Inter-Toto Cup, fought through to the final of the Europa League and lost to Atletico Madrid only after extra time, made two England managers in Kevin Keegan and Roy Hodgson and achieved its highest ever finish in the top flight, seventh in 2009.

"I also made sure that every manager who ever worked for me had the money to strengthen the squad.

"The squad was not 'threadbare' when I sold the Club. It comprised of many fine international players.

"I challenge Mr. Magath to name the 'well-performing players' that he accuses me of selling; the only ones who were sold insisted on leaving.

"And I did not bring in 'eight new players in January', which Mr. Magath also identifies as the cause of his woes.

"Mr. Magath says he had the same problems in bringing in new players at Wolfsburg.

"Well, he might be right there. But if I remember correctly, we beat Wolfsburg in Germany when I owned the Fulham."