Lille owner in negotiations to sell French club

LILLE, France (AP) " Luxembourg-born businessman Gerard Lopez has begun negotiations to buy French club Lille.

Lille said in a statement Sunday that club president Michel Seydoux has started discussions for the exclusive sale of the club to the 44-year-old Lopez.

The decision to sell, Lille says, follows "several months of fruitful exchanges" with Lopez " who was interested in buying Marseille before the southern club agreed to sell to American businessman Frank McCourt in late August.

Seydoux, a French businessman and film producer, says he was looking "not for a buyer but a successor." He considers it "indispensable" that this person has the right "vision and the capacity" to help Lille win more trophies.

Lille has won the French title three times and the French Cup six times. The northern club won the League and Cup double in 2011 under former coach Rudi Garcia.

The 69-year-old Seydoux has been Lille president since 2002. He is confident that Lopez, the president of the finance group Genii Capital and formerly the president of the Lotus Formula One team, has "the ideal profile to take over from me."

Lopez is also president of Fola Esch, a small side that plays in Luxembourg.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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