MILAN, Sept.30 (Reuters) – The Italian Serie A football league should follow the example of Spain’s La Liga and open up to private investors to repair the finances of clubs ravaged by the pandemic, said the new US owner of the Serie A club Genoa CFC. noted.
Earlier this year, Spain’s top football clubs backed the investment offered by private equity firm CVC in La Liga, as part of a deal to strengthen the clubs and give them funds to spend on new infrastructure and modernization projects. Read more
In Italy, lengthy negotiations between Serie A and private equity firms CVC and Advent for a stake in a new company housing the league’s media rights collapsed without a deal.
“Maybe the CVC-LaLiga deal is the best way to do it, maybe not … I think it’s really worth thinking about it,” Juan Arciniegas, chief executive of the company, told Reuters. American 777 Partners, adding that there could be many ways to structure a partnership.
“It is essential to assess all possibilities in order to improve the capitalization of the league and the clubs.”
Last week, the Miami-based investment firm, which owns a stake in Spain’s Sevilla FC, became the sixth U.S. owner of a Serie A team, buying Italy’s oldest club Genoa as part of ” an agreement of 150 million euros (128.05 million dollars). Read more
âWe recognize that these are tough times, but tough times create opportunities and the need for capital to meet the opportunities. I think we could play a role in supporting the club with both capital and expertise. “said Arciniegas.
The 777 Partners fund plans to turn around Genoa, which ended 2020 with a loss of 33 million euros, by injecting capital and restructuring some of the debt accumulated by the club due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The club is more in debt than we expect to have in the medium term. We want to get out of debt as part of our project,” he said.
One of the biggest problems for Serie A clubs is that few of them own their stadiums, which robs them of income, while ambitious plans to build new arenas are often caught in the bureaucracy.
Genoa shares their original land, which belongs to the city’s municipality, with its rivals Sampdoria.
Arciniegas said that despite the challenges, investing in the stadium would be a key part of a strategy to increase the club’s revenue base by expanding services to fans attending matches and business partners.
“We are looking at all the possibilities (…) to allow us a direct investment in the stadium. It can be a renovation, it can be an extension, it can be the creation of new spaces.”
($ 1 = 1.1714 euros)
Reporting by Elvira Pollina, Elisa Anzolin; edited by Valentina Za and Ken Ferris
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