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By ESPN Staff
Jan 6, 2006

Gaydamak reassures fans over Portsmouth's future

Portsmouth's new co-owner Alexandre Gaydamak moved to reassure fans and the Premier League by stressing his investment in the club had nothing to do with his father Arcadi.

Gaydamak is confident he is a 'fit and proper person' - the test applied by the League chiefs to people who become involved in clubs - despite controversy over his father.

Billionaire Arcadi, the owner of Israeli side Beitar Jerusalem, is the subject of an international arrest warrant in relation to his alleged part in an oil-for-arms deal to Angola in 1994, although he denies any wrongdoing.

However, Gaydamak jnr stressed his father had no involvement in his deal to buy into Pompey.

'Portsmouth Football Club is a business I am investing in. There is no relationship between my father and the football club,' he said.

'It is my money from 10 years of working. It is completely my money [from] working in finance and real estate.'

Of his new acquisition, which sees share ownership with Milan Mandaric, Gaydamak said: 'I am very thrilled and happy to be one of the co-owners of Portsmouth and am looking for a bright future.

'Portsmouth fans are the most unique and strongest in the country and we are a Premiership team in the greatest tournament in the whole world.'

Mandaric added: 'Today is an exciting and important day for our football club. I have a partner here to help me build this club where we want to go.'

Gaydamak said he does not know Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the world's most famous Russian billionaire.

'I don't know the gentleman personally but I have the utmost respect for him and admire him very much,' he said.

'I am very uncomfortable with comparisons between us, it is a different league - I am very small and he is very big, I can't compare myself to him.

'I took the advice of my own advisers for this and that's it. My ambition for this football club first and foremost is to stay in the Premiership and at the end of the season we will see what we can do.'

Gaydamak modestly rubbished suggestions he may be a form of saviour for Portsmouth.

'I see myself as a person who found an opportunity and a very strong challenge, not a saviour. You think I'm the saviour? That is a joke,' he added.

Mandaric revealed his big plans for a new stadium are ongoing and that he could walk away from the club when it is finished.

'The stadium goes on and the finances are secure. Alexandre is very important as a partner for the football club but with the stadium, everything is in place.

'Now there are two of us instead of one. Something I always said was I had a vision I will leave my ownership when I fulfil my mission, and that is to come to the Premier League, establish it and build a stadium and then, maybe, the mission is finished.

'The mission will be accomplished more easily with Alex and when I go, the club will be in good hands.'

Gaydamak added: 'It is a 50-50 partnership based on trust. The financial issues are important but here it is based on trust. I'm here for the long term to build something big. I'm not interested in the short term.'