1. ITV Report

Mohamed Al Fayed blames removal of Michael Jackson statue for Fulham's relegation

Mohamed Al Fayed at the unveiling of the statue in 2011. Photo: PA Wire

Fulham's removal of a Michael Jackson statue is a key reason why they were relegated from the Premier League, former owner Mohamed Al Fayed has suggested.

Fulham's 13-season stay in the top flight ended on Saturday after a 4-1 loss at Stoke City.

The statue of the iconic late singer was commissioned by Al Fayed and installed at the back of the Hammersmith and Stand at Craven Cottage in 2011.

Flamboyant former owner Mohamed Al Fayed. Credit: PA Wire

"This statue was a charm and we removed the luck from the club and now we have to pay the price," Al Fayed told the Press Association.

"When (Khan) asked me to move it I said, 'you must be crazy'. This is such a fantastic statue which the fans are crying out for.

"But now he has paid the price because the club has been relegated. He called me because he told me he wanted Michael to return. I told him, no way."

The statue is finally removed in 2013. Credit: PA Wire

The flamboyant former owner was speaking at the National Football Museum in Manchester as he donated the statue of Jackson.

Al Fayed and Jackson were closed friends and the former Jackson 5 star even attended a match at Craven Cottage in 1999.

Al Fayed sold the club to Shahid Khan in July 2013 and threatened to rip off the new owner's moustache if he removed the statue.

A Fulham fan in tears following Saturday's relegation. Credit: PA Wire

The west London club have endured a turbulent season which has seen three different managers in the dug out, but current boss Felix Magath has vowed to rebuild the side in the Championship.