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Swansea City confirm majority share takeover of club

Swansea City have released a statement on their website which confirms the consortium led by Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien as the new majority shareholders after they bought a controlling 60% stake in the club.

Statement from Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien

We would like to thank everybody we've met in Swansea for such a warm and friendly welcome. We appreciate how important the football club is to the city of Swansea and we wanted to communicate with you, the fans, our thoughts as new partners in the club. A number of people have asked us why the Premier League and why Swansea City? Quite simply we believe the Premier League is the greatest football league in the world. It has the greatest collection of players and, most importantly, it is the most competitive league, where on any given day any team in the league can beat another.

We love the passion and the physical style of play. Premier League matches are always high drama, where it feels as if anything can happen - and often does! We are blessed to have an opportunity to be owners in such an amazing league. Once we decided on the Premier League, we looked for a club that possessed a particular style of football on the pitch that we believe will give rise to sustainable long-term success. We also wanted to be a part of a club that was at the very heart and soul of the community in which it plays. Over the course of a year we looked at a few clubs, but as we dug down deeper, our focus always returned to the Swans. We were attracted to the team's distinctive style of play and we loved the intensity of the relationship between the fans and the football team. Backed by the Supporters' Trust, no other team's support base is as strong as Swansea's. This historic and powerful relationship between the fans and the club is the single most important answer to the question, 'Why Swansea City?' It's a unique story of a club rescued by a combination of mainly local businessmen and a group of fans who decided they couldn't stand by and let something they love die.

To us, it was an incredible achievement and one that truly resonated. We were hooked, we knew we wanted to be involved. We recognise this club means so much to so many people and we take the responsibility as owners very seriously. While we plan on being long-term owners we know the team belongs to the community. In essence, we see ourselves as guardians of the club but it belongs to the fans of Swansea City.

One thing we want to be clear about is our priorities as owners. Priority number one, two and three is the performance of the team on the pitch. We will field a competitive team that will battle every week against the greatest teams and players in the world. It is our intent and goal to be a long-term fixture in the Premier League that competes on a consistent basis with some of the finest teams in the world. We think it's important to acknowledge and show our respect to all those original shareholders who helped rescue the club and invested in their community, not to make a quick return, but to save something they loved, something that was so important to Swansea. We are absolutely delighted some of these original shareholders have decided to continue as owners and will be our partners. Of course, Huw Jenkins and Leigh Dineen will be key members of our management team going forward.

We also want to acknowledge the Supporters' Trust which will remain a significant shareholder in the club. We have reached out to the Supporters’ Trust and met with them on many occasions and we look forward to working with them as our partners in helping to move the club forward. In that regard, we plan to work with the Trust as our partners in determining the best path to expand and improve the fan experience at the Liberty Stadium. Together, we will explore every avenue to improve the matchday experience, bring new fans to the club and cement the future for the supporters. We want to make sure the next generation of Swansea fans and the generations after can all become part of a unique history and heritage.

We also know matchday has to be affordable and value for money, that's why ticket prices will remain the same for the foreseeable future. That brings us to another huge reason why we were so keen to become part of Swansea's history - Huw Jenkins. Huw will play a major role in our plans for the club. He was part of the leadership that brought the club from the depths of the Football League to the Premier League and our mission is to support him in maintaining the drive and vision we all have for the Swans. Finally, we would like to thank the people of Swansea for welcoming us. We know there is always a sense of fear and trepidation when new owners arrive on the scene but we will do everything in our power to win your trust and ensure there is a long and bright future for Swansea City.

We look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in person over the coming weeks and months and to another successful season for the Swans.

Cheers,

Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien

– Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien

Swansea's 'new owners' arrive at Liberty Stadium

The takeover of Swansea City is to be confirmed within the next half an hour, ITV News understands.

Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien arrived at the stadium earlier this evening

American businessmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien are expected to invest a 60% stake in the club.

For more on this, we're live at the Liberty Stadium on Wales at Six.

FA Wales changes criteria for World Cup qualifier tickets following fan backlash

The Football Association of Wales has changed its ticketing policy for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers following a backlash from some fans.

Credit: Facebook/FA Wales

In an attempt to reward fans for their loyalty, the FAW used a staggered approach to releasing tickets but memberships had to be renewed by 9 June for people to be eligible - irrespective of how long the membership had been held.

Some fans expressed anger at this deadline, many of whom argue were in France at the time, supporting the team in the European Championships.

The FAW now says it has reviewed the policy and removed the membership renewal deadline for the next stage of tickets - which will be available on Wednesday 27 July.

Olympic medalist Hannah Mills appeals for new lifeboat

Olympic silver medalist and sailor Hannah Mills has launched an appeal today for a new lifeboat at Penarth Marina - the busiest inshore station in Wales.

Local sailor Hannah Mills launches Penarth lifeboat appeal Credit: ITV Wales

Hannah won silver at the 2012 London Olympics and is a gold hopeful for next month's games in Rio. She flies out this Sunday. She said her local lifeboat station "needs the best equipment possible" to help people caught in the treacherous waters off the Penarth coast.

The RNLI need to raise £52,000 for a new lifeboat. Anyone wishing to donate can visit penarthlifeboatappeal.org.

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Swansea expected to formally announce majority buy-out

Swansea City are expected to formally announce the majority buy-out of the club later.

The majority buy-out is expected to be completed later today. Credit: PA

The takeover, led by Americans Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, had a deal ratified by the Premier League earlier this month to buy a 60% controlling stake in the Premier League side.

In a joint statement on the club's official website, the two men said they were "extremely excited" to be part of a "new era" for Swansea City, with chairman Huw Jenkins adding he was "looking forward" to working with both Levein and Kaplan.

Elsewhere new signing Mark Birighitti could make his debut for the Swans in Saturday's away pre-season friendly with Bristol Rovers.

The 25-year-old, who has one international cap for Australia, joined on a free transfer from A-League Newcastle Jets on Monday.

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Birighitti will provide competition for Lukasz Fabianski, Kristoffer Nordfeldt and Gerhard Tremmel in the race to be Francesco Guidolin's number one.

Liverpool accept £13 million Stoke bid for Joe Allen

Liverpool have accepted a £13 million bid for Wales midfielder Joe Allen from Stoke, Press Association Sport understands.

Joe Allen in action against Belgium. Credit: VI Images/Belga/PA Images

The Wales star is currently on leave after his exploits in getting them to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, is in the final year of his contract.

Allen is looking for more playing time, having been restricted to mainly Europa League appearances last season.

Stoke's bid is roughly in line with Liverpool's valuation of a player with less than 12 months remaining on his contract - and would recoup most of the £15 million they paid Swansea four years ago - so the decision is now likely to rest with the player himself, who is not due back to pre-season training until July 26.

Wales Manager Chris Coleman to be offered the freedom of Swansea

Chris Coleman, manager of Wales football squad, is to be offered the freedom of his home city, Swansea.

Coleman and his team returned from France to a hero’s welcome after taking Wales to their first semi-final ever.

Chris Coleman is to be offered the freedom of his home city, Swansea. Credit: PA

Freedom of the City is the highest honour the people of Swansea can confer on one of its own.

And after the amazing, incredible exploits of the last month in France, I think I can safely say everyone in Swansea believes it’s richly-deserved.

In interviews Chris has been saying he hopes the France adventure has fully established Wales on the footballing map.

We can say it’s not just Wales but Swansea too.

To reach the European Championship semi-final is fantastic in itself. But the team has been outstanding ambassadors for Wales on and off the field, and the leadership Chris has shown truly demonstrates that being #TogetherStronger is a story of shared experience and shared character we can all be part of.

– David Hopkins, Lord Mayor of Swansea
Credit: PA

Chris Coleman was born in Swansea in 1970.

He went to St Joseph’s RC Primary School and to Bishop Vaughan RC Comprehensive.

He played for Swansea City 160 times and for Wales 32 times.

After leaving Swansea in 1991, he went on to play for Crystal Palace, Blackburn and Fulham, and later had spells as manager at Fulham, Coventry and Spanish side Real Sociedad.

He was appointed Wales manager in the tragic and difficult aftermath of the death of his good friend Gary Speed in 2012.

From there he built a team that qualified for its first major championships in 58 years.

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