The Hague (AFP) – A Dutch court on Thursday ordered the Chinese owners of top-flight side ADO Den Haag to pay almost 2.5 million euros ($2.6 million, £2.1 million) to the club in back payments and costs.
The decision against the Chinese sports events company United Vansen and its wealthy owner Wang Hui comes after a months-long acrimonious dispute between the club and its Beijing-based owners.
United Vansen bought a 99 percent stake in the ailing ADO in 2014, with the club hoping the Chinese investment would boost their flagging fortunes on and off the field.
It was one of the first investments in the lucrative European football industry by Chinese owners hoping to gain a foothold in the market on the continent and attract players to China.
But two years later Wang’s relationship had soured with ADO accusing him of holding out on paying in full a promised 3.72 million-euro investment.
The club said they had no choice but to take Wang and United Vansen to court as the missing funds were needed to balance their books, or face possible sanctions from Dutch football authorities.
In Thursday’s written ruling, the court said that “in its opinion, ADO Den Haag had shown that there was an agreement made in August 2015 between the parties that United Vansen had unconditionally agreed to pay 3.72 million euros in three instalments” to the club.
The court in The Hague ordered United Vansen to pay 2.35 million euros in outstanding monies to the club, and added a further 130,000 euros in interest. It also awarded some 10,000 euros in costs to the club.
Wang and United Vansen can appeal the ruling if they choose.