Digger only asks this question because DiBenedetto is also a stakeholder in the Fenway Sports Group, which owns 100% of the shares in the Anfield club. As the two teams' respective leagues currently stand, Roma would qualify for next season's Europa League. Liverpool are four points off qualification for that competition.
If both clubs qualify, then it is possible Uefa's rules governing the integrity of its competitions would come in to play. These state: "No individual or legal entity may have control or influence over more than one club participating in a Uefa club competition". This is defined as "holding a majority of the shareholders' voting rights" or "being able to exercise by any means a decisive influence in the decision-making of the club", among other things.
If any clubs fall foul of these rules the lower-ranked team (in this case Roma) would be excluded from the competition. It is possible that these rules would apply in this case, though one can not be certain because it is impossible to ascertain how much of the FSG DiBenedetto owns.
Last week FSG sent out a press release announcing that it would no longer be trading under its former guise of New England Sports Ventures LLC. However, NESV is still the name of the holding company that is registered with the Massachusetts Corporations Division. This official channel has no publicly available information relating to NESV's equity structures. Neither does the Division of Corporations of the State of Delaware, where NESV is ultimately domiciled.
Usefully for investors who do not wish to disclose their identities or the nature of their investments, Delaware never does oblige them to make public this sort of information. The Premier League does oblige its clubs to make public the identities of any shareholders with stakes in excess of 10%. Regrettably, Liverpool does not do this, saying only: "The sole owner of the Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Limited is New England Sports Ventures, trading as Fenway Sports Group. John Henry and Tom Werner are generally responsible for the management of Fenway Sports Group."
Ian Cotton, the Liverpool executive who deals with matters relating to the club's ownership, could not be contacted. An email to FSG's generic address went unanswered. So Digger asked the media department of the Boston Red Sox what it knew of FSG, the parent it shares with Liverpool. It responded that it would attempt to put Digger in touch with DiBenedetto (he did not call back last night either, although he was probably quite busy putting his deal for Roma together). It also said that the identity of the clubs' shareholders and their respective stakes "is not public information".
The one little chink of light FSG has recently shed on who owns it is as follows: "Fenway Sports Group is led by Principal Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner, with additional ownership interests being held by a select number of prestigious individuals and The New York Times." Why so secret? Surely fans are entitled to know who owns their club, whether they are baseball or football fans, because sometimes it just might have an impact on the integrity of a competition.
West Ham to upgrade Olympic stadium
West Ham United will spend £90m on a stadium upgrade in an effort to fix the problems suffered by other football-club tenancies of Olympic stadiums.
The Hammers take over the Stratford site after the Paralympic Games next year. Then they will direct a sum equivalent to that Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson spent on his ill-fated takeover of the club in 2006. The experience of other clubs who have moved in to purpose-built Olympic stadiums suggests West Ham have their work cut out in getting it right. The US private-equity investor Thomas DiBenedetto was quoted by the Gazzetta Dello Sport yesterday that the Stadio Olimpico does not serve Roma, the club he is buying this week, sufficiently well.
"The Olimpico simply just do justice to the fans' passion; the stands are too far away from the pitch and the noise from the crowd is not the same at that distance," said DiBenedetto. "A new stadium is a must, an English-style stadium so that it benefits the players too." Roma's difficulties may relate as much to the age of the stadium – it is 52 years old. However there have been similar complaints from Espanyol about their occupancy of the 20-year-old Barcelona Olympic stadium. West Ham insist their fans will benefit from a vibrant atmosphere, will invest in retractable seating and a new roof, in an effort to keep the noise in.
Dream come true for England mascots
The FA made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for 10 young people who were the mascots at England's game against Ghana on Wednesday night. Every one of them represented one of the FA's charity partners: Action for Children, the Bobby Moore Fund, Coaching for Hope and Street League. The 10-year-old Jake Hancox, a sufferer of Asperger Syndrome, was one of Action For Children's representatives. He had never been able to join his older brother in playing the game in organised matches but at Wembley the FA gave him the opportunity to do something in football most other kids can only ever dream of.
Follow Matt Scott on Twitter: @diggermattscott
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