More than 15,000 Roma fans have signed a petition urging the club's owners to sell the Italian soccer club to George Soros following reports that the American billionaire had backed out of talks. Italpetroli, Roma's majority shareholder, met with representatives of Soros' firm Inner Circle Sports about a possible sale last week, but media reports revealed that Soros ended the talks because of lack of progress. The news sent Roma shares down almost 10 percent in Tuesday trading.
According to Reuters, a Soros insider said there was a conflict within the Sensi family, which controls Italpetroli, over whether to sell, with chief executive Rosella Sensi particularly reluctant to do so. Soros (a former minority investor in MLS's D.C. United) apparently offered $421 million.
Meanwhile, many fans believe the Sensi family has taken Roma as far is it will go -- which is to say, second place in Serie A -- and that foreign investment is needed to take the club to the next level. "Naturally fans like me have started to dream and hope for a great Roma like the great teams of Europe, competitive on every front," said the petition. "Our hope is that the Sensi family sells Roma to George Soros."