Canadian investor buys Maccabi Tel Aviv

Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:23pm EST
 
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By Ori Lewis

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Tel Aviv, the country's oldest and biggest soccer club, have been sold to Canadian metal trader Alex Schneider, one of the former owners said on Tuesday.

"We have made history for Maccabi Tel Aviv, there is a new owner and the club will embark on a new path," said Roni Maana.

Maccabi, formed in 1906, have won the league championship a record 18 times and the State Cup 22 times, but in recent years have gained a reputation for being perennial underachievers.

"Everybody showed a willingness to complete the deal ... This is a very great day for Maccabi Tel Aviv, I feel very happy for the fans," said David Federmann, who negotiated the sale.

Ukraine-born Schneider, who owns Midland Resources paid $20 million for an 80 percent stake in Maccabi, according to a local media report. The remaining 20 percent will remain with the club.

Schneider briefly owned the Jordan Formula One motor racing team, which he renamed Midland, before selling it to Spyker, who in turn have sold it to current owners Force India.

Maccabi were at one stage bottom of the standings in the 12-team league before regrouping and are now eighth.

They last won the league title in 2003 when they pipped Maccabi Haifa to the championship on the last day of the season.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)