Top-tier Mouscron get a Thai owner
Pairoj takes over Belgian club, promises to bring in finances and improve team's quality
published : 12 May 2018 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Pairoj Piempongsant has vowed to "bring quality" to Royal Excel Mouscron after his takeover of the Belgian first division club.
The Thai businessman was unveiled as the new investor of the Belgian top-flight club earlier this week.
Details of the deal were not disclosed.
Pairoj is the first Thai to own a Belgian top-flight club. Thailand's King Power Group owns OHL Leuven in Belgium's second-tier league.
Asked during his presentation at the club's headquarters why he chose a Belgian club, Pairoj said: "Belgium is near the top of Fifa rankings."
Belgium have a number of fine players including Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois.
Pairoj said for Mouscron to become successful, it is necessary to improve the quality of the club.
Pairoj vowed to bring sponsorship from Asia to increase the club's budget.
He also promised to invest in both the first team and the club's academy.
Mouscron finished 14th in the 16-team Pro League last season.
It was reported last week that Pairoj was close to acquiring a majority stake in financially-troubled Greek club Panathinaikos.
Asked about the deal, Pairoj said: "It's too early to talk about it. The deal is not complete yet. But if it is done, you can imagine a connection [between the two clubs]."
Pairoj is not new to buying football clubs.
Pairoj reportedly brokered a deal for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to take over English Premier League club Manchester City in 2007.
A year later Pairoj was believed to be involved in the sale of the club to Abu Dhabi United Group as Thaksin made a considerable profit.
He also brokered a deal for a Thai group to buy Reading in the English Championship (second tier) a few years ago.
Several Thais now own football clubs in England.
Premier League side Leicester City are owned by King Power Group, while Dejphon Chansiri is owner of second-tier Sheffield Wednesday.
In February, Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth completed his takeover of League One (third tier) Oxford United.