North American group nears deal to buy Bologna

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) — Cash-strapped Serie B club Bologna is nearing a sale to a North American group.

New York lawyer Joe Tacopina is slated to become the club president, with Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo the largest investor.

Tacopina and Saputo will reportedly make an initial investment of 13 million euros ($16.5 million) plus provide a 7 million euros payout to the club's previous owners.

Since 2010, Bologna has been held by a consortium including coffee maker Massimo Zanetti.

The pending deal has led league authorities to delay deciding on a one-point penalty for Bologna for failed player payments for several months this year.

A seven-time Serie A champion, Bologna was relegated at the end of last season. The club stands fifth in Serie B, which would be good enough to enter a promotion playoff at the end of this season.

Bologna's last Serie A title came in 1964.

The deal will make Bologna the third major Italian club with foreign-majority ownership. Roma was taken over by a group of Boston investors three years ago, and Indonesian entrepeneur Erick Thohir took a majority stake in Inter Milan last year.

Tacopina, who represents New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez in his drug case, resigned from his position on Roma's board to pursue the Bologna deal.

The new owners are due to be presented on Thursday.