German businessman hopes to restore Ljubljana football club to former glory

Ljubljana – Olimpija Ljubljana, one of Slovenia’s biggest football clubs, has a new owner and president. Adam Delius, a relatively unknown German real estate businessman, has taken over from Milan Mandarić, the Serbian-American businessman who previously owned clubs like Porstmouth, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday, among others.

The completion of the EUR 5 million deal was announced at a press conference on Tuesday, after a general assembly at Olimpija that took place behind closed doors.

Adam Delius, the new owner of Olimpija and owner of a Munich-based real estate network of companies Delius Immobilien AG, then spoke to the press about his goals and aspirations.

In his address, there were echoes of Mandarić’s words when he took over the club, including the desire to play in the Champions League and to fill the stands at Olimpija’s Stožice stadium.

“I have only one goal – for Olimpija to become champions. At the same time, I want the club to be properly represented in European competitions.” said Delius.

“The club will be run by a whole team, not just the president, and this will be showcased in the coming days,” he stressed, adding that it is necessary for everyone to work together, including the fans, to reach the top of Slovenian football.

With this takeover, Mandarić’s multi-year saga of trying to sell the club came to an end. After the sale failing multiple times, Delius has now taken over Olimpija, which cost him EUR 5 million.

According to media reports, three million were immediately used to repay the club’s debts, while Mandarić pocketed the remaining two million.

“I am delighted to hand over the club to Adam Delius. We have been talking for over a year and I wish him success in sport and in business. Adam is very ambitious, he wants good things for the club, he is a good person and I hope you will support him,” Mandarić said at the press conference.

“I have been through a lot over these six years, I have put a lot of work into trying to bring Olimpija back to its former glory. I am grateful to all the people who have been with me,” added Mandarić.

Olimpija won the national championship in 2016 after a 21-year drought, and repeated the feat two years later. “The Dragons” also won the national cup trophy in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Olimpija’s six-year period under Mandarić was also marked by lots of staff changes. A particular feature was the managerial merry-go-round, as no less than 13 managers sat on Olimpija’s bench during this time, some of them twice.

The list includes names like Rodolfo Vanoli, Luka Elsner, Safet Hadžić, Igor Bišćan, Savo Milošević and Dino Skender, who is now returning for his second stint as Olimpija’s head coach after being sacked in January.