Former Portsmouth owner linked with £100m bid for French Ligue 1 strugglers St Etienne

A former Pompey owner is in talks to buy French top-flight club St Etienne.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 10:20 am
Updated Monday, 29th November 2021, 10:20 am

According to reports in L'Equipe, Roman Dubov is heading Total Sports Investments’ interest in the club and was present for Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to PSG.

Dubov, who is described as a ‘Russian billionaire’, is boss of the venture capital firm – and keen to add St Etienne to their sporting portfolio.

The Fratton faithful, of course, may recall Dubov’s involvement with Pompey during the failed ownership of Convers Sports Initiatives a decade ago.

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CSI, which consisted of Vladimir Antonov, Dubov and former Leeds chief executive Chris Akers, purchased the Blues from Balram Chainrai in June 2011.

Having later fled England while on conditional bail and convicted in his absence, Antonov was jailed for two-and-a-half years by a St Petersburg court in March 2019, having pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

Dubov and Akers were not implicated with Antonov’s actions, nonetheless, CSI’s ownership had imploded.

Roman Dubov (right) with Vladimir Antonov (left) at Pompey's Championship clash with Brighton in August 2011. Picture:Steve Reid

In December 2011, Dubov resigned his role as an executive director of Pompey, with the club eventually put into administration in February 2012, accompanied by a 10-point deduction, sealing relegation fate.

The following month, Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust launched their bid to buy the club.

Dubov would later claim CSI invested £12m into the Blues during their six months as Pompey owners.

Since CSI, Dubov has been president of Cypriot club Pafos FC, a board member at Riga FC, and involved in the Langley Football Academy, based in Norwich.

Roman Dubov met The News' Emma Judd at his Lombard Street business offices in London for an interview in September 2011. Pictures: Malcolm Wells

He has also retained interest in long-running companies Green Golf Balls Europe, Gator Sports, Workforce Bank Limited and, of course, Total Sports Investments.

As chairman of Total Sports Investments, Dubov is reportedly prepared to pay £100m for shares in St Etienne and, on Sunday, is alleged to have met officials for further talks.

St Etienne are currently bottom of Ligue 1, with just two wins from their opening 15 league fixtures.

Managed by former Southampton and Leicester manager Claude Puel, they lost 3-1 to league leaders PSG on Sunday, with Lionel Messi claiming three assists.

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