CAGLIARI, Sardinia (AP) — The sale of Cagliari to an American consortium appears to have fallen through, with club president Massimo Cellino yet to receive any money.
Cellino announced an agreement last month after a meeting in Miami with Luca Silvestrone, a representative of the investors who have not been identified — even to Cellino himself.
“I haven’t heard from anyone or seen any money since that day,” Cellino told Thursday’s edition of regional newspaper L’Unione Sarda. “For that which I know, based on what I have seen, there is no American consortium. Neither consortium, nor plan. I always thought Silvestrone just represented himself.
“The fans wanted me to meet him and I met him. But there is no money and not even any investors.”
Cellino, who recently took over Leeds, has been in charge at Cagliari for 22 years but has been frustrated in his efforts to build a new stadium for the Sardinian club.
“Now I will sell Cagliari to someone who wants to show their face,” he added. “We have to do it soon, because there is a whole season to plan and a stadium to sort out.”
Cagliari left the Stadio Sant’Elia toward the end of the 2011-12 season after a dispute with its city council over renovating its stadium, and several matches were played in Trieste — nearly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away from the Sardinian city.
The club moved into Is Arenas for the following season but was plagued by problems with the stadium and several matches had to be played behind closed doors because of safety problems.
Cellino also suspended himself after a match had to be forfeited when he attempted to defy orders to play it in an empty stadium.
Cagliari moved back into Sant’Elia for the most recent season but the stadium’s capacity was limited to 5,000 fans because of rebuilding work. The club was given the green light to extend that to 16,000 on Wednesday.
The club ended the campaign in 15th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Cagliari was set to become the third club in Italy’s top tier to be under foreign ownership. Roma is controlled by Americans, while Indonesian entrepreneur Erick Thohir and two associates took charge at Inter Milan last year.