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Analysing Reading FC's Potential New Ownership Statement

What can we tell, and what can't we tell, from Sunday evening's club announcement?

Reading v Leeds United - Sky Bet Football League Championship Photo by Martin Willetts/Getty Images

Earlier this evening, we were treated - finally - to some concrete news about the takeover of the club by two Chinese siblings. In late November 2016, it was reported that Dai Yongge and his sister Dai Xiu Li (also known as Xiu Li Hawken) were interested in investing in Reading. Since then, information has been thin on the ground, with worries rising that the whole deal may have collapsed.

Today's short statement, which you can see in full below, seems to allay those fears, but it's so carefully worded that it's worth analysing in more detail (which is what we've done). Note that the following is our speculation, so...

The text

"Upon receipt of a letter on Friday from Shaun Harvey, the Chief Executive of the EFL, Reading Football Club can now confirm that an application for a proposed change of control at the club has been conditionally approved.

"The Club will now spend the coming weeks working diligently with the EFL, our current shareholders and both Mr Yongge Dai and Miss Xui Li Dai to ensure the application meets those specific conditions and all the relevant EFL regulations."

(Words highlighted by me, not the club).

"A proposed change of control"

There's no financial detail given here, for example how much Yongge Dai and Xiu Li Dai are investing. That said, 'change of control' implies that they'd be acquiring a majority stake in the club (we imagine this will constitute upwards of 51%), possibly not the full 100%.

Indeed, that follows the original reports which said the same thing.

"Conditionally approved"

Don't jump the gun, Reading fans - this statement only announces conditional approval for an application to enact a takeover, nothing more. Said 'conditions' remain unknown. Also, there's no reason given why we've now got the approval.

"With the EFL"

The club will be working with the Football League, but there's no mention of the Premier League, who were the ones rumoured to be having concerns over the takeover due to the pair's failed Hull bid last summer, thereby holding up the process. Could the Premier League still delay (or block) the deal?

"Mr Yongge Dai and Miss Xui Li Dai"

The statement openly acknowledges the siblings' identities, which could be one of the most important bits of the whole statement because it shows all parties are happy to have those names put out on public record.

Does that mean they're confident the whole thing will go through? Going out on a limb, I'd say so.

"Meets those specific conditions and all the relevant EFL regulations"

What are those conditions and regulations? This could be as simple as applying the final touches, or it could be something more complicated. The club do say that they'll "spend the coming weeks" on it, which isn't specific enough to draw anything from.


For me, the whole thing could all be re-worded along the lines of:

"Look guys, we all know there are takeover talks going on behind the scenes, and we know you've been getting anxious about it. We haven't been able to say anything before, but now we finally have something solid to put on the record.

"That said, don't get your hopes up - there's still a long way to go.

"PS, sorry about the Norwich game lol".


What do YOU think about today's statement? Are you cautiously optimistic? Worried? Or still too pissed off about the Norwich game to care?

Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @TheTilehurstEnd.