US billionaire Dan Friedkin on Monday promised to turn Roma into “one of the greatest names in world football” after completing his 591 million euros ($700 million) purchase of the Italian club.
Friedkin, 54, takes over the Serie A side after nine-years under the ownership of fellow American James Pallotta, 62.
Friedkin in a statement said –
“We are delighted to join the AS Roma family,” “As one fan wrote recently, ‘Take our iconic club and make it one of the greatest names in world football’.
“We intend to do just that. Our commitment to Roma is total. We will be very present in Rome, a city that holds a special place in our hearts, as we embark on this exciting journey.
“Our vision for the club and the team is to favour a sustainable and long-term investment approach rather than quick fixes.
“We recognise that we have been entrusted with a team. which represents a vital part of the soul of Rome, and this is a responsibility that we will always take very seriously and humbly.”
Houston-based Friedkin is the chief executive of a consortium notably involved in the automotive and hotel and entertainment industry.
The Friedkin Group have through Romulus and Remus Investments LLC, purchased the 86.6 per cent majority stake in Roma, and will launch a mandatory tender offer for the remaining 13.4 per cent of share capital, the club said in a statement.
Friedkin takes over from Pallotta as club chairman, in a new executive committee which includes his son Ryan, with Guido Fienga remaining on as CEO.
Pallotta bought two-thirds of the club’s shares in 2012, but had 100 per cent ownership since 2014.
The Boston-based businessman 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 semi-finals.
“I would like to wish Dan, Ryan and everyone at AS Roma – the players, the staff and the fans – only good luck for the future.
“Like every Roma fan in the world, I truly hope The Friedkin Group can build on what we have done over the last eight years, transforming Roma into a truly international club, and take AS Roma to the next level.
“This is an incredibly special football club and I leave with many unforgettable memories.”
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.
Friedkin told Roma fans:
“We will stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we develop this club and challenge for trophies in the future.
“We can’t wait to get to work and for our new season to start.”