AC Milan president Paolo Scaroni believes that RedBird Capital could be the perfect owners for the club, given the desire for economic sustainability.
It was made official at the back end of August that Milan had been sold by Elliott Management to RedBird Capital Partners – headed by Gerry Cardinale – for a figure of €1.2bn. It marks yet another new era for the club who have now had three owners since Silvio Berlusconi sold to Yonghong Li in 2017, but there will not be a huge difference from one American fund to the next.
Scaroni was at the event marking the presentation of the new book by Marco Bellinazzo title ‘The new wars of football’ tonight, and he was asked by reporters about the future of the game with his comments relayed by TMW.
“The virtuous example is the Premier League, they managed to get everything they wanted. It’s not easy, we know that well, but we have to get there: full stadiums, an international audience, young Italians if possible. We have so many things to do ahead of us, but we also have all the will to do them,” he said.
In 1997 he was the first president of an Italian club with foreign ownership, Vicenza. Twenty years later he has a similar role as the president of AC Milan having been brought on board by Elliott Management, a USA and London-based fund. Are foreign owners better than Italian ones? Scaroni had his say.
“We won the Coppa Italia with that team, it was an adventure made by the English public company which still owns Tottenham today. It wanted to create a football multinational in Europe: this attempt was frustrated by UEFA, which prevented two teams with the same ownership in the same tournament,” he said.
“That drawing also involved AEK Athens and other European teams, but it was dismantled. That experience of mine has led me ever since to approach football thinking about the income statement, the English were already looking at it with attention: that Vicenza generated cash, we had many champions that we managed to sell on the market.
“Both then and today with Redbird I find myself fitting perfectly. Football must regain economic balance as a fundamental condition of sustainability: today our shareholder of reference also wants to bring the experiences gained in the United States and in other sports into football.
“I must say that they are giving us a fundamental contribution mentally, they have experiences and skills that we don’t have, certainly in Milan but perhaps in Italy in general. Foreign ownership is good for our football: it will take us far.”