Finance committee to recommend Blank to NFL owners

Wednesday, January 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ The NFL finance committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend the dlrs 545 million sale of the Atlanta Falcons to Arthur Blank.

The committee's decision moved Blank one step closer to becoming the second owner in the Falcons' 36-year history.

``They will make that recommendation to the 32 NFL clubs on Feb. 2,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. ``The clubs are set to vote on the sale in New Orleans, the day before the Super Bowl.''

Blank, co-founder and former chairman of The Home Depot, is not expected to have difficulty getting at least 24 votes in his favor.

``It's an exciting time,'' the 58-year-old Blank said. ``There's also a lot of hard work ahead.''

Blank reached an agreement Dec. 6 with team president Taylor Smith, whose family owns 88 percent of the Falcons. Since then, Blank's accountants have been exchanging financial information with the team and the NFL in preparation for the finance committee's meeting.

Blank has declined to take questions pointed at the Falcons' future, including what role he envisions for head coach Dan Reeves, until the sale is completed. The team has a news conference scheduled to begin after the NFL owners' meet Feb. 2.

``When the time is right, we'll have a lot to discuss,'' Blank said.

Only one finance committee member, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, was unable to attend the meeting in New York.

Cleveland Browns owner Al Lerner chairs the committee, which consists of six owners _ New England's Robert Kraft, New Orleans' Tom Benson, Tennessee's Bud Adams, Kansas City's Lamar Hunt, Tampa Bay's Malcolm Glazer and Denver's Pat Bowlen _ and Robert Tisch, chairman of the New York Giants.