A North American group led by lawyer Joe Tacopina and Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo has purchased Bologna FC, the club announced Wednesday.
Tacopina has been named the club's president, while Saputo, reportedly the largest investor in the move, has been named director. They will reportedly make an initial investment of €13 million ($16.5 million) and will give a €7 million (about $9 million) payout to the previous owners.
Tacopina and Saputo were introduced as Bologna's new owners on Thursday.
"We are honored to be able to take care of this legendary club, for us to be here is like a dream," said Tacopina. "We have worked tirelessly to get to all of this today, and we have no intention to stop. We believe in this club, we believe in its future and believe in our wonderful fans, who we want to finally give a lot of satisfaction," Tacopina said.
"We plan to return soon to Serie A, and will invest time and effort in Bologna and in its people. We've put together one of the strongest management teams in football to support our team in its work on the field," said Saputo.
Bologna becomes the third major Italian team to be have a foreign-majority ownership, joining Roma and Inter Milan.
Tacopina is known for representing New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez in his drug case. Saputo founded the Impact in 1993 and oversaw its move to MLS in 2012.
Bologna, currently in Serie B, was relegated from Serie A at the end of last season after finishing 19th in the league.
Previously owned by a group that included coffee maker Massimo Zanetti, Bologna has had financial difficulties that have kept the team from making payments to players for several months this year. According to The Associated Press, a proposed one-point penalty for the payment failures may not be imposed as a result of the sale.
Before this year, Bologna hadn't played in Serie B since 2007-08. The team is currently tied for third with 14 points in eight games, which would qualify Bologna for the season-ending playoff whose winner would earn promotion to Serie A.
- Ben Estes