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SBD Global/July 9, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
League One side Leyton Orient has "become the latest English club to be taken over by a foreign owner after chairman Barry Hearn agreed to sell his 90 per cent stake in the club to Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti," according to Luke Edwards of the London TELEGRAPH. Hearn, a lifelong Leyton Orient fan, "has always maintained he would only sell his controlling stake to someone who had the money to take the League One club to a higher level and he is satisfied Becchetti is willing to invest huge amounts to try and do so." The snooker and boxing promoter "will not remain on the board but he still owns the stadium and will help in an informal role." Becchetti "was originally interested in buying Championship club Reading, but was concerned by the size of the club's debt." Orient, though, is "debt-free and he will be able to put all his money into team building" (TELEGRAPH, 7/7). The BBC reported Hearn, his son Eddie, Steve Dawson and David Dodd "have all resigned from the club's board, while Matthew Porter has stood down as chief executive but will remain as a director." Becchetti "is the head of the Becchetti Energy Group" (BBC, 7/7). FOOTBALL ITALIA reported Becchetti will become the third Italian owner of an English club, following in the footsteps of the Pozzo family at Watford and Massimo Cellino at Leeds United (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 7/7).