New Burnley chairman Alan Pace linked with move to take over Serie A club

Suggestions than new Burnley chairman Alan Pace is close to becoming the new owner of Seria A club Spezia Calcio appear to be jumping the gun.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:17 pm
Alan Pace

Reports in Italy have claimed that Pace will take over the Liguria-based club, who are in their first season in the top flight, after winning the Serie B play-offs last season.

It is claimed Spezia Calcio are in advanced talks with an American consortium, but I understand suggestions of an imminent purchase are inaccurate.

Pace is keen to develop partnerships with other clubs overseas, as the Pozzo family did with Watford, Udinese and Grenada, while the City Football Group have Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos, Montevideo City Torque, Girona, Sichuan Jiuniu, Mumbai City, Lommel SK and Troyes, while Club Bolívar are a club partner.

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When Pace first spoke to the media at the turn of the year after ALK Capital's takeover at Turf Moor, he said: “Every club in the Premier League can benefit from the international scope of this league – how you do that is the most important part.

“It is hard for people to realise that vision when you are spending most of your time just staying (in the Premier League). When you are just staying afloat in an ocean, you don’t get time to see what is around you and what you can do.

“You have got to give them a reason to connect with things that are happening here – that may be a player, that may be a style of play, maybe a manager or the atmosphere (in the stadium).

“There are a number of different things that can absolutely have that level of impact, it is about how do you not artificially create it but make it genuine, real and long-lasting.”

He added: “If I was a player, I’d want first team minutes, if I can’t get that at my club but my club can get me opportunities at other clubs, then I would see that as an opportunity for me to develop as a player.

“We see that as important but for other clubs it may be branding, other commercial opportunities. For us it’s probably more on the player development side – those relationships could be anything from ownership through to strategic relationships.”

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported at the weekend that a representative of an American consortium was in Italy to conduct the due diligence, having reached a preliminary agreement, with the consortium understood to have 'already had experience in sports investments’.

La Gazzetta dello Sport has already revealed that one of the names behind the investors is MSD Capital, an American private investment firm, with whom ALK Capital took out a loan to help purchase Burnley.

Having a partner club in Europe could be beneficial on the back of Brexit, where now European citizens will need a visa to work in the UK, as they currently do from elsewhere in the world, and will need to earn a governing body endorsement, which are issued on a points-based system depending on criteria including number of international caps and the FIFA ranking of the player’s country.

Previously, English clubs were also allowed to sign EU nationals between the ages of 16 and 18 with parental permission. Now, those rules will only apply to players from the Home Nations.

Clubs will be able to sign no more than six players who need a GBE in one season, after this window closes.

One way clubs may try and circumvent the rules is by benefiting from existing partnerships with European sides. They could sign players now and agree for them to move only after their 18th birthday.

Spezia, owned by Italian businessman and tycoon Gabriele Volpi -are 16th in their first season in Serie A in their 114th year.

Based in La Spezia, Liguria, between Genoa and Pisa, the club play at the 10,336-capacity Stadio Alberto Picco.

Previously, Inter had a majority shareholding in Spezia, and in 2002, the club became Inter's feeder club.

Spezia took Goran Pandev on loan from Inter in the first season, but after the 2005/06 season, Inter sold most of its shares in Spezia.