Roma sold to US businessman Friedkin for €591 million

AS Roma's Portuguese head coach Paulo Fonseca reacts during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match between Sevilla FC and AS Roma at the MSV Arena on August 6, 2020 in Duisburg. (AFP)
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Updated 07 August 2020

Roma sold to US businessman Friedkin for €591 million

  • Friedkin takes over the Italian side from American businessman James Pallotta

ROME: Roma on Thursday announced a change of ownership, with US billionaire Dan Friedkin buying the Serie A club for €591 million ($700 million).

Friedkin, 54, takes over the Italian side from American businessman James Pallotta, 62.

“AS Roma can confirm that an agreement has tonight been reached between AS Roma SPV, LLC, the majority shareholder of AS Roma S.p.A, and The Friedkin Group regarding the sale of the club,” the club said in a statement.

“The operation is valued at around €591 million,” the club added. The final sales agreement must be signed before the end of August.

Pallotta bought two-thirds of the club’s shares in 2012, but has had 100 percent ownership since 2014.

Houston-based Friedkin is the chief executive of the Friedkin Group, a consortium notably involved in the automotive and hotel and entertainment industry.

“All of us at The Friedkin Group are so happy to have taken the steps to become a part of this iconic city and club,” said Friedkin in a statement.

“We look forward to closing the purchase as soon as possible and immersing ourselves in the AS Roma family.”

According to Forbes, his fortune is estimated at just over four billion dollars (3.6 billion euros), which would make him the 504th richest man in the world. Friedkin’s son Ryan will reportedly be involved in the day-to-day running of the club.

“Over the last month, Dan and Ryan Friedkin have demonstrated their total commitment to finalizing this deal and taking the club forward in a positive way,” said Pallotta.

“I am sure they will be great future owners for AS Roma.”

Boston-based Pallotta had been unpopular among club fans for his rare appearances in Italy and his handling of player transfers and the departures of club legends Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi who were both pushed out of the club.

Roma have had recurring financial difficulties and been sanctioned by European football’s governing body UEFA for breaches of financial fair play.

As a result the club are very active in the transfer market, regularly selling off their best players, to the chagrin of fans.

Pallotta’s great project had been the construction of a new stadium in the south of the capital which was delayed because of legal and bureaucratic issues, and remains at the planning stage.

The high point of Pallotta’s reign was the club’s sensational Champions League 3-0 second leg comeback in 2018 to beat Barcelona, before losing to Liverpool in the semifinals.

The club won their third Serie A title in 2001, but have not lifted any silverware since the Italian Cup in 2008.

This season they finished fifth, missing out on elite European competition for the second year in a row.

They will play Sevilla later Thursday in the Europa League last 16.


Newspaper apologizes for racist comment about Barça’s Fati

Updated 22 October 2020

Newspaper apologizes for racist comment about Barça’s Fati

  • ABC journalist Salvador Sostres wrote that ‘Ansu when running has something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street vendor running’ away from police
  • Teammate Antoine Griezmann: ‘Ansu is an exceptional young man who deserves the same respect as any human being — no to racism and no to bad manners’

BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona player Ansu Fati received an apology in a Spanish newspaper on Thursday for being profiled racially by one of its journalists.
ABC journalist Salvador Sostres wrote of Barcelona’s win over Ferencvaros on Tuesday that “Ansu when running has something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street vendor running” away from police.
Teammate Antoine Griezmann was one of many readers who denounced the description by Sostres in a message on Twitter: “Ansu is an exceptional young man who deserves the same respect as any human being. No to racism and no to bad manners.”
ABC published an apology by Sostres on Thursday.
“My intention was to praise the beauty of Ansu’s movement and his talent as a very young player,” Sostres wrote. “Some expressions were understood as racist insults. Nothing was further from my intention, nor the very favorable opinion of the player that I have expressed in all the match reports I have written since his debut. I deeply lament the misunderstanding and I ask forgiveness if anyone has felt offended.”
Fati, who is Black, was born in Guinea Bissau and immigrated with his family to Spain when he was six years old. Now 17, he is one of Barcelona’s most promising players.
Barcelona says it was planning to sue the newspaper and journalist, but after Sostres’ apology it is reconsidering what course to take.