Premier League club Burnley taken over by American investors

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BURNLEY, England (AP) – Burnley became the latest Premier League club to become owned by Americans when a takeover was completed Wednesday.

ALK Capital’s sports investment arm, Velocity Sports Partners, has bought an 84% stake in the northwest English club from British businessmen Mike Garlick and John Banaszkiewicz.

Burnley’s glory days came long ago – winning the English championship in 1921 and 1960 – but it is playing its fifth straight season in the world’s richest league.

ALK managing partner Alan Pace will replace Garlick as chairman of the team, which is based just north of Manchester. He was previously CEO of Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake. Garlick and Banaszkiewicz, will remain on the new board of directors at Burnley.

Unlike squads in the rest of the league, Burnley largely has players from Britain and Ireland rather than the rest of the world. Of the 13 players used by manager Sean Dyche in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Tuesday, only Erik Pieters of the Netherlands is from outside the British Isles.

But the change in ownership could lead to an expansion of the club’s scouting and transfer network. In August, ALK invested in two London-based football technology firms – AiScout and Player LENS – which are involved in data analytics and predictive assessment of players.

“Today marks a new era for Burnley,” Pace said, “as we become stewards of this historic football club and build on the impressive work that Mike Garlick, Sean Dyche and everyone at Burnley has done to make it a financially stable, established Premier League club that is a cornerstone of the local community.”

Burnley is 16th in the 20-team standings, five points above the relegation zone after 15 matches of the 38-game season.

“With a rich heritage, a brilliant academy, and a passionate fan base, this club has solid foundations to build upon,” Pace said. “This is the start of an exciting journey for the entire Clarets family.”

American investors also own Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Liverpool and Manchester United.

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