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NFL plans to match owners with teams

05/02/2013 5:03 PM ET
By Matt Hughes

Eric Grubman walks with Shahid Khan, who bought the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.(AP)
The NFL plans to continue matching potential owners with teams. 

The league has no intention of changing course on the way it vets prospective team owners. That process has come into question since Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's private company was raided by federal investigators on charges of fraud in April.  

Eric Grubman, NFL executive vice president, said the league recently began an initiative that pairs wealthy individuals with teams coming on the market. Haslam and Shahid Khan, who bought the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, were both introduced by the NFL to the selling franchise owners as part of the new initiative. The league favors this new approach because it allows them to get to know new potential owners better.

The Sports Business Journal first reported on the league's position.

In the past, an ownership group that was selling their team would go through traditional investment banking channels to find potential buyers. The league would then screen the candidates before the seller decided on a final buyer.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the league had no idea Haslam was on the verge of a federal investigation.  

Before buying the Browns in 2012, Haslam already had close ties with the league as a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers dating back to 2008. 

Follow Matt Hughes on Twitter: @hughesmatt

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