March 28 – The majority owner of Poland’s leading club Legia Warsaw, Legia Warsaw, Dariusz Mioduski (pictured) has acquired the minority shares in the club and vowed to take a hands-on role in the management.
Mioduski acquired 80% of the club while the remaining 20% was bought by Boguslaw Lesnodorski, Legia’s chief executive. They bought their shares from local media company ITI for an undisclosed amount.
Now Mioduski has full control he is promising to further develop the club which he believes has a lot of growth potential.
“Based on over 100 years of our history and tradition, we will continue our work to develop Legia into one of elite European Clubs,“ said Mioduskil.
“We have solid foundations in place, but we still see a lot of potential in all aspects of our operations. I’m confident that together with a great team on and off the pitch, we will continue achieving ambitious high goals, always supported by millions of our fantastic fans.”
Legia’s large and passionate fan base is certainly a strength but it has also landed the club in hot water at various times. Legia were the first Polish club to have made it through to the Champions League group stages this season achieving a win against Portugal’s Sporting Clube and a 3-3 draw against Real Madrid.
But what should have been a celebratory entry into Europe’s top echelon of club football was marred by fighting among home fans during Legia’s 6-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund, their first home game in the group stage. This resulted in a UEFA order to play a home game behind closed doors and a €80,000 fine. UEFA’s sanction followed a number of other cases involving Legia in recent seasons.
Despite the issues caused by the fans, Mioduski, who is a member of the Executive Board of European Club Association, still has ambition. When he took over in 2014 he said: “Our goal for the upcoming year and for the following years is to lead a club which is kept in balance.”
It was suggested that the club could consider a public stock market listing to provide finance.
“We could think about this in a few years, but obviously, in business, just like in sports, you cannot plan everything in a very detailed manner. We are also thinking about other forms of financing the club,” Mioduski said at the time.
“I don’t know if the stock market is the best vehicle to spur and then further increase fan participation,” he said.
Two years later and having moved the club into the higher earning levels of Champions `League football, the concept of an IPO may be less appealing to the new 100% owner. But it could still provide an exit route option further down the line.
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