The Detroit Lions today confirmed that Martha Ford will take over the ownership of the franchise after the passing of her husband, and longtime owner, William on Sunday.
Many had expected the running of the franchise to be passed to their son, William Clay Ford Jr. but the Lions have chosen a different path as per an official statement:
"Pursuant to long-established succession plans, Mr. Ford's controlling interest in the Lions passes to Mrs. Martha Ford.
"She and her four children will continue to be involved in the ownership of the franchise, as they have during Mr. Ford's tenure," the statement read.
Bill Clay Ford Jr. will remain as the Vice Chairman and will continue to handle business operations for the franchise - a role he has served in recent years as his father's health deteriorated.
According to Fansided, the reason for placing Martha in the ownership role is related to tax implications, and it is expected Lions' President Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew will handle the day-to-day team operations.
William Ford passed after on Sunday at the age of 88 with reports citing pneumonia as cause of death.
He had been the owner of the Detroit Lions since 1963 when he bought the franchise for $4.5 million and had always maintained his desire to keep the team in family hands.