Millonarios set for stock exchange

BOGOTA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Millonarios are expected to be the first Colombian football team to list on the stock exchange after a club official said on Tuesday the financial authorities had given the go-ahead to sell shares through a new company.

If the project goes ahead Millonarios, once a rich club but whose name now belies their financial predicament, would follow a lead in South America set by Chilean clubs Colo Colo, Universidad Catolica and Universidad de Chile.

"This is the way out (from financial strife) for all football teams and the first (in Colombia) is going to be Millonarios," club president Jose Arango told reporters.

Arango said background checks would be carried out on potential investors to ensure no person or company involved in illegal activities were accepted. Colombian clubs have in the past been linked to drug cartels.

The details of the listing, including share value and number of investors would only be made public at the time of the launch, the new company Sociedad Azul y Blanco said in a statement.

Millonarios, who won the last of their record 13 Colombian league titles in 1988, have sunk into an economic and sporting rut in recent years and flirted with relegation.