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Oct 8, 2008

Sensi family deny reports of Roma sale

The owners of Italian Serie A giants AS Roma have denied reports that they will be forced to sell due to mounting pressure on the club's debts, believed to be in the region of Euros420 million.

Reports in Italy claim that Unicredit Bank are refusing to defer any further payments on the club's debt and are demanding that the Sensi family, who control Roma through the oil company Italpetroli, make an immediate payment of Euros130 million.

However, the club and Italpetroli moved to quash the reports on Wednesday, stating: ''Italpetroli has not asked for a deferment regarding the payment terms of their agreed debt with Unicredit Bank of Rome, an agreement signed last July, nor has it received any pressure with the intention of a speeding of those payments.

''Italpetroli wishes to clarify that AS Roma is not part of the agreement with Unicredit Bank and, hence, has no obligation towards those payments.

''Moreover, no pressure has been placed by Unicredit Bank of Rome for AS Roma shares to be put on the market. Italpetroli states that there are no ongoing studies regarding the inclusion of new shareholders and are unaware of any third-party interests to buy AS Roma shares.''

It is thought that the Sensi family have debts of Euros365 million and earlier this year repeatedly denied claims that they were considering selling the club to a foreign investors, with American billionaire George Soros strongly linked.

If Roma are coming under pressure to repay debts fans will hope that the Sensi family's reported inability to do so does not lead to a fire-sale of the club's playing stars, such as Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi.

In August this year the club's popular chairman Franco Sensi died. Under his stewardship Roma enjoyed considerable success, winning the Serie A title in 2001 and the Coppa Italia in 2007 and 2008. After Sensi's death he was succeeded by his daughter Rosella.

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