5 Ripple Effects of Massimo Moratti Selling Inter Milan
Inter president Massimo Moratti now looks set to sell a majority stake in the club to Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir.
It's unlikely to be the last sale, either.
An influx of foreign investment will shake up the balance of power on the peninsula and will likely bring with it several pros and cons.
The future of Serie A looks more organised and more profitable but with fewer of the personalities, idiosyncrasies and the passion that first attracted so many of its fans.
So what will Thohir mean for Inter and Italian football?
The Internationalisation of Serie A
Roma led the way in this respect, but while the capital club has been foreign-owned since an American buy out took over from Rosella Sensi in 2011, it hasn't had the effect that the internationalisation of a club like Inter might.
The Nerazzurri are one of world football's true heavyweights, and the press surrounding Thohir's bid is undoubtedly already stirring up plenty of interest in Serie A as an investment prospect around the world.
Thus far, it's been an all-Italian affair, with rich families long holding patronage over clubs like Juventus, Milan and Inter. In that respect, it's somewhat unique.
The German model means that full foreign ownership is impossible, but investment from abroad has changed the footballing landscape in England, Spain and France.
Italy could be next.
A Dominant Inter
Debts at the club are thought to be around €300 million, and while that figure is significant, there could still be cash left over for investment in the squad and possibly a new stadium once some loans are paid off and Moratti's taken his share.
If a club like Inter can get on a sound financial footing, the possibilities are endless.
Servicing less debt would make them more profitable and able to spend more freely—even with financial fair play rules.
A More Competitive Calcio
Club presidents are part of the pagentry in Italian football, with personalities like Palermo's Maurizio Zamparini often as entertaining as the players on the pitch.
The likes of Zamparini, funny though they might be, are rarely good for business or for football, however, and their overly controlling, often senseless reactions to the ebbs and flows of league competition usually have more of an effect on a club's finishing position than the playing or coaching staff.
With an influx of foreign ownership, Italian football will become less about personalities and more about performance.
Men like Thohir are interested in success more than being the star of the show, and while some will lament the passing of Italian patrons, a modern, more detached approach to running a club bodes well for all of calcio.
An Italian Land Grab
A new stadium, owned by the club rather than the local government, would create a secure revenue stream that can be exploited to its full potential by the club.
It would also be massively valuable asset.
Cash from stadium tours and museums, retail units and entertainment events are a lucrative sideline for a football club, and by owning the venue, the club can manage it in its own interests without having to consult with other stakeholders.
Juventus are already reaping the benefits of building their new arena, and new ground is on the way for Roma.
But if Inter can be among those front-runners, it can steal a march on rivals and claw its way back to the upper reaches of European football's wealthiest clubs.
Change at AC Milan
Foreign investment, lower debt and possible stadium moves will all be great for Inter—but it will have some effect on the red side of Milan, too.
Silvio Berlusconi is never shy about telling people that the Rossoneri are the most successful club in world football, and it won't sit easy at Milanello if all of a sudden they're playing second fiddle to the Nerazzurri at home, abroad and on the balance sheet.
If Thohir's bid is successful, expect changes at AC Milan to follow.
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