Saudi Arabia are considering acquiring Roma from the Friedkin family after placing its logo on Roma’s jerseys (with sponsorship from Riyadh Season). Since their arrival in 2020, the Friedkins have spent over €800 million, and last summer, they turned down a €1 billion offer from a Middle Eastern consortium.
According to today’s edition of La Repubblica (via Calcio e Finanza), negotiations between the parties have already begun, with the head of Roma’s legal department reportedly in Riyadh. This extended trip appears to be more than just discussions regarding the sponsorship contract with the Saudi entertainment and sports brand, ensuring Roma an income of €25 million over two seasons.
Further indicating potential activity, Eric Williamson, a member of Roma’s board who typically only travels from the United States for significant matters, made the journey last week.
The rumors suggest two parties are interested in Roma. One is the previously mentioned PIF investment fund, which, having control of Newcastle, may clash with UEFA rules on club multiproprietary participating in European competitions, a minimal goal for both clubs. At the negotiation table could be Turki Alalshikh, president of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, personally involved in the aforementioned sponsorship deal and possibly tapping into private resources to acquire Roma.
Initially, when signing the Riyadh Season agreement, the Friedkins had no intention of selling the club, but now the other side of the deal seeks to take over the club from the American family.
However, there’s a certain reluctance from within Roma circles towards the club’s sale, emphasizing the absence of any written commitment between the parties. Last summer, a Middle Eastern consortium made a €1 billion offer but it was rejected by Dan Friedkin. Therefore, for the Saudi deal to go through positively, a valuation higher than €900 million for Roma must be made. The proposed offer consists of €900 million upfront and an additional €300 million contingent on the approval of the definitive project for the new stadium in Pietralata by the Rome City Council.