Italy's Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday defied reports in the Italian press alleging that he would oppose the takeover of AS Roma by a foreign entity. The speculation was that the AC Milan president, who announced earlier in the day that he would renounce his post, might oppose foreigners investing in Serie A clubs, but he told reporters: "If someone comes in who can make the fans happy by strengthening the squad, he's more than welcome."
Last week, Roma issued a statement saying that the club had opened talks with a foreign entity interested in acquiring the club. It's widely believed that the investor in question is American billionaire George Soros, who reports say would offer some $400 million for Italpetroli's 67 percent stake in the Serie A giant. Berlusconi told reporters he would not block the move and that foreign investment in soccer "is a practice that has become somewhat common in Europe. Just look at what has happened in England with [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich," he said.
Italian soccer federation president Giancarlo Abete said he wouldn't block the move, either, although he reminded that soccer in Italy is "historically based on the input of great families. Given that the Sensi family [which operates Italpetroli] has given and is giving a lot to Roma, it will be up to the Sensi family to evaluate the best functioning scenario," Abete said.