BELGRADE: Red Star Belgrade, one of the most iconic clubs in European competitive football over the second half of the last century, is poised for an ownership takeover by Russian energy giant Gazprom.

If a $132m deal is concluded Gazprom will also acquire be the land which sites the club’s 55,000-seat stadium. This has raised speculation that the site could be sold and a new stadium built.

As part of the deal, the Serbia government will receive €40m and Belgrade’s municipal budget €20m with a further €40m paying off the club’s debts.

Gazprom has been the club’s main sponsor since 2010.

Red Star – in Serb Crvena Zvezda – were founded on March 4, 1945, and have won 26 championships. They are the only Serbian and ex-Yugoslav club to win the Champions League, in 1991, and the only team in the South-Eastern and Eastern Europe to win the Club World Cup, also in 1991.

On Friday Red Star fly to Russia to play Spartak Moscow in the opening match of the 42,000 Otkritie-Arena which is one of Russia’s venues for the 2018 World Cup.