Serie B club Bologna sold to North American group led by New York lawyer Joe Tacopina

BOLOGNA, Italy – A group of North Americans led by New York lawyer Joe Tacopina completed the purchase of Italy’s cash-strapped Serie B soccer club Bologna on Wednesday.

Tacopina was named club president and Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo is a large investor.

A statement posted on Bologna’s website announced the deal.

Tacopina and Saputo will reportedly make an initial investment of 13 million euros ($16.5 million) and will provide a 7 million euros payout to the club’s previous owners.

Since 2010, Bologna has been held by a consortium including coffee maker Massimo Zanetti.

The deal has led league authorities to delay deciding on a possible one-point penalty for Bologna for failed player payments for several months this year.

A seven-time Serie A champion, Bologna was relegated at the end of last season. The club stands fifth in Serie B, which would be good enough to enter a promotion playoff at the end of this season.

Bologna’s last Serie A title came in 1964.

The deal makes Bologna the third major Italian club with foreign-majority ownership. Roma was taken over by a group of Boston investors three years ago, and Indonesian entrepreneur Erick Thohir took a majority stake in Inter Milan last year.

Tacopina, who represents New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez in his drug case, resigned from his position on Roma’s board to pursue the Bologna deal.

The new owners are due to be presented on Thursday.