City Football Group are finalizing a takeover of Palermo FC, according to a report today in Gazatta dello Sport. The historic but mismanaged club that were relegated to Serie D in 2019 earned promotion to Serie C the following year, and won promotion to Serie B over the weekend after triumphing in a 28-team home-and-away tournament that saw them beat Calico Padova in the final.
According to the report, club president Dario Mirri met with CFG representative Giovanni Gardini in a Milan hotel to finalize a deal that could become official as early as July 1. The article goes on to state that one of the topics of discussion is whether or not CFG will keep on key members of Palermo’s front office.
Hudson River Blue first reported the deal on May 3, and learned that CFG were set to purchase an 80% stake in the club for just €6 million ($6.3 million).
Palermo might have just fought their way into Serie B, but they were in the Europa League in 2011, and competed in Serie A as recently as 2017. Superstar players such as Andrea Belotti, Edison Cavani, and Paulo Dybala all played for I Rosanero, but former owner Maurizio Zamparini’s legendary erratic behavior destabilized the club — he went through 35 managers in 15 years, and “once threatened to slice off his players’ testicles and eat them in his salad,” according to The Guardian. After Zamparini sold Palermo in 2018, the club went through an additional six directors in two years.
If the deal goes through, Palermo will be the 11th club in CFG’s portfolio. The group currently owns Manchester City in the English Premier League and New York City FC in MLS, as well as Australia’s Melbourne City, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos, Uruguay’s Montevideo City Torque, Spain’s Girona FC (which plays in the second division), China’s Sichuan Jiuniu FC (which plays in the second division), India’s Mumbai City FC, Belgium’s Lommel SK (which plays in the third division), and France’s ES Troyes AC.