Prominent businessman, billionaire, and former Fulham Football Club owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, has passed away at the age of 94.
Al Fayed, originally from Egypt, was widely recognised for his ownership of Harrods and his commitment to philanthropy, making a significant impact on both the world of football and British society.
Though he arrived in the UK during the 1970s, Al Fayed’s longstanding aspiration to obtain British citizenship remained unfulfilled. Nevertheless, his influence extended far beyond immigration matters.
During his ownership of Fulham FC, the club experienced a remarkable ascent from the third tier to the Premier League. The club expressed deep sorrow at the news of his passing, recognising the debt of gratitude owed to him for his contributions.
Shahid Khan, Fulham’s current owner, paid tribute to Al Fayed’s legacy, emphasising the club’s promotion to the Premier League and their memorable moments during his tenure. Khan described Al Fayed as a wise and committed chairman, underscoring his enduring impact on Fulham’s tradition.
Al Fayed’s journey, from humble beginnings in Egypt, where he sold fizzy drinks on the streets, to becoming a prominent business figure with influential connections, is a testament to his ambition and determination. His acquisition of the Paris Ritz hotel and Harrods in 1985, following a fierce bidding war, further solidified his reputation as a successful businessman.
In addition to his business ventures, Al Fayed was a dedicated philanthropist, generously supporting various causes, particularly those focused on underprivileged and unwell children. In 1987, he established the Al Fayed Charitable Foundation with the aim of improving the lives of disadvantaged youngsters.
However, one of the most significant chapters in Al Fayed’s life was the tragic car crash in 1997 that claimed the lives of his son, Dodi, and Princess Diana. This event deeply affected him, leading to years of questioning the circumstances surrounding their deaths, including controversial claims that were ultimately dismissed.
In 2010, Al Fayed sold Harrods to the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, utilising a substantial portion of the proceeds to clear the company’s debts. His passing marks the end of an era, but his impact on British football, business, and philanthropy will be remembered for years to come.