New Roma owner wants 'club for 21st century'

ROME, March 29, 2011 (AFP) - American millionaire Thomas DiBenedetto, the future owner of Serie A side Roma, said on Monday that his aim was to create a team for the 21st century.

Boston-based private equity tycoon DiBenedetto is the head of a group of American investors who will sign a multi-million-euro deal to buy the club on Wednesday.

"The aim is to make Roma one of the top teams in the world," DiBenedetto told the Gazzetta dello Sport daily.

"Getting a competitive team together is in our interest. Winning will be the only way to obtain a return on our investment."

The first priority, he said, was "to balance the books, to bring the club back into financial fair play, given that we're presently outside".

He then wants to move the team from the Stadio Olympico, which was built for the 1960 Olympic Games.

"We need a new and different stadium: an English-style stadium that motivates the players," DeBenedetto explained.

"Roma doesn't have the adapted structure. Olimpico doesn't do justice to the passion of the tifosi (fans), the tribunes are too far from the pitch and the atmosphere is lost."

DiBenedetto said he wanted "a club capable of winning the scudetto (Italian league title) every year and to be finally competitive in the Champions League".

For next season he wants to recruit "at least five or six new players".

In the long-term, DiBenedetto added that he wanted "a club that knows how to get the best out of new technology and communication and the social media, to reach every corner of the globe, which will enable use to sell our merchandising better and to increase our revenues to buy the best players."

Three-time Serie A champions Roma are currently sixth in the league, 12 points behind leaders AC Milan. They won their last title in 2001.

DiBenedetto is no stranger to European football as a partner of New England Sports Ventures, who own the Boston Red Sox and last year bought English team Liverpool.

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