Businessman Ghirardi wins auction to buy Parma

January 24, 2007

ROME, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Parma's search for a new owner ended on Wednesday when Italy's Minister for Economic Development authorised the sale of the Serie A club to businessman Tommaso Ghirardi, the government said.

La Gazzetta dello Sport said the 31-year-old's bid was worth 30 million euros ($39.02 million).

Twice former UEFA Cup winners Parma have been run by a temporary administration since parent company Parmalat went bankrupt in December 2003.

In that time there have been several failed bids, including one last year by former Real Madrid chairman Lorenzo Sanz.

Last month, managing director Roberto Cappelli put Parma up for auction in an attempt to find an owner.

Ghirardi, whose business interests include engineering and steelworks, already owns fourth division side Carpenedolo.

Parma have declined from challengers for a European place to Serie A also-rans in the space of three years.

The team are third from bottom in the league with 15 points from 20 matches.