Italian Finance Journalist Marco Bellinazzo On Inter’s Current State: “It’s Part Of The Club’s Recovery Process, The Worst Is Behind Us”

Italian Finance Journalist Marco Bellinazzo On Inter’s Current State: “It’s Part Of The Club’s Recovery Process, The Worst Is Behind Us”
March 31, 2022 23:00
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Italian journalist and expert in economic and sports law Marco Bellinazzo has said that the latest finance statistics from Inter are part of the club’s recovery process, according to a report in the Italian media.

Speaking during an interview with FCInternews, Marco Bellinazzo addressed the comments of Inter CEO Alessandro Antonello who had explained why Inter’s losses were as high as €245.6 million last season.

“It’s part of the club’s recovery process. In 2021 all the possible expenses happened, in addition to those that are defined as extraordinary items, that is, the outputs that will never be repeated, like the resolutions of the contracts of Conte, Nainggolan and João Mario.

“This, together with the savings and capital gains with the sales of Hakimi and Lukaku, which will be accounted for in the 2022 budget since they were carried out after 1 July, will lead to a deficit more than halved.

“With the further objective, given the principle of sustainability and the rise in revenues, a balanced budget could arrive in one or two seasons.”

It was put to Marco Bellinazzo that the idea of cutting costs, to fans, looks like selling the team’s best current players.

He stressed that the loan taken out from Oaktree was made by Suning rather than the club so the team are not burdened with that.

“That is one of the options. The goal is the balance between revenues and costs. If you can increase revenue, you don’t necessarily have to cut costs. Compared to last year, there is more box office revenue and sponsorships. Plus the money from the Champions League.

“All this will affect the balance sheets and make the need for sales less stringent. This arises from various factors, with the immediate one linked to the cash, that is the so-called liquidity.

“Last year, stadium revenues were gone and money was needed for current expenses, a problem solved thanks to the loan with Oaktree. It must be remembered that this does not weigh on Inter’s debts, because it is taken on by Suning as a company.”

That is a key point because if Suning are unable to pay the loan back to Oaktree, the club will be sold rather than being made to pay the loan.

“The money with interest will have to be repaid within two years, although technically Suning could also ask for the loan to be rescheduled temporarily. This is how it works, but I see no signs leading to the more negative scenario, the worst seems to be behind us.

“However, it should be reiterated to the fans that it would not be an Inter problem, but Suning’s. Oaktree is a kind of insurance policy. The damage would be for Suning, who has invested a lot in Inter, but not for the Nerazzurri, which would change hands.”

Inter are one of many teams in discussions with UEFA around the changing Finacial Fair Play rules. Marco Bellinazzo attempted to make sense of the changes.

“The old Financial Fair Play will be remodelled, with a new model that will be implemented from 2024. In this transition period each individual club will make agreements to meet certain parameters. The old model already predicted that no more than 70% of revenues could be spent on salaries.

“New rules will be introduced, such as the one that will not exceed 70% of revenues considering the amount of the cost of the rose, which does not only mean salaries but also commissions for agents and depreciation.

“With €100 million in revenues, the costs cannot be more than €70 million. Probably starting from next year this rule will be introduced, starting from 90%. This solution, unlike the previous settlement agreement, will not have a punitive nature but will be an accompaniment in the path of sustainability for the clubs affected by the pandemic.”

One way that both Inter and AC Milan are looking to improve their finances is through a new more lucrative stadium.

MarcoBellinazzo explains that it can be very important for teams in the modern game to have a lucrative stadium but it is not fundamental.

“It is not fundamental, but increasingly so, otherwise Inter and Milan cannot make a qualitative leap. In recent years the two Milanese have grossed between 40 and 60 million in total. The rivals get double, if not triple or even quadruple on average.

“Barcelona with the new stadium, for which 1.5 billion of debt has been allocated, which will be partly covered by the new sponsor Spotify, is aiming for 200 million in revenues per season. San Siro, beyond the iconic beauty, as it is now cannot guarantee services that allow such revenues.

“The same goes for its restructuring, given the expenses. It is clear that a new ground is needed, which is why alternative solutions even just outside Milan are fine, as long as the construction site is opened as soon as possible, in six to nine months.

“The growth of post-pandemic sports business must be exploited. We are already late, the bureaucratic process should have been completed in 24 months, while we are still in the public debate.”

By Euan Burns