Russian gas giant Gazprom is interested in taking over Alkmaar football club AZ, the Telegraaf reported at the weekend without detailing its sources.
The paper says Gazprom wants to play an increasingly important role in the Dutch gas market and sees AZ as a perfect way to up its profile.
AZ, last year’s league champion, is without a main sponsor following the collapse of DSB bank. AZ was owned by DSB’s founder Dirk Scheringa. He has invested €100m in the club and its new stadium, the paper says.
Gazprom already sponsors German club Schalke 04 and had earlier been interested in Dutch club Volendam until it was relegated, the Telegraaf said.
Gazprom is one of the main backers of a project to develop a massive underground gas storage centre between Alkmaar and Bergen. That plan is strongly opposed by many locals who fear it will be dangerous.
AZ’s director Toon Gerbrands told the Financieele Dagblad on Friday a number of ‘major parties’ had shown interest in becoming AZ’s main sponsor but that the club is looking for someone who will be around for more than one season.
DSB’s curators told the paper the sale of the club would be a ‘careful process’ carried out ‘in close consultation with the management’.
Independent experts would be brought in to assess the price of the club, a spokesman told the FD.
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