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Browns owner might buy soccer club Aston Villa

7/24/2006 - Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND -- Browns owner Randy Lerner is exploring
investments in the United Kingdom that could include the purchase
of English soccer club Aston Villa.

Bill Bonsiewicz, a Browns spokesman, would not comment on
British news reports Monday saying Lerner is one of several
businessmen bidding for Birmingham-based Aston Villa.

"But he is exploring business options, including in the United
Kingdom where he's been involved in the business community since
1993," Bonsiewicz said. "He's always maintained other businesses
outside the Browns."

Lerner, a billionaire and former chairman of credit card giant
MBNA, assumed ownership of the Browns in 2002 following the death
of his father, Al.

Bonsiewicz said Lerner was traveling and unavailable for
comment.

If Lerner does purchase Aston Villa, he would be the second NFL
owner to buy a club in England's Premier League. Tampa Bay
Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer purchased Manchester United in
2005, sparking protests by fans worried Glazer would be more
devoted to making money than winning.