Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Price Of Inter's Success


There’s no doubt that the 2009/10 season was a triumphant one for FC Internazionale, better known as Inter, as they became the first Italian team to complete the treble by winning the scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in a single year. In fact, Inter have been the dominant force in Italian football ever since the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, winning five league titles in a row, the first time this has been done since Juventus achieved the feat in the 30s.

This recent success must taste all the sweeter to Inter fans, as it follows a lengthy period of failure and disappointment. After winning the league in 1989, the nerazzurri endured 17 long years without taking the Serie A title, which was made even worse by their arch-rivals Milan sweeping all before them, but now the boot is well and truly on the other foot.

The victory over Bayern Munich in Madrid to secure the Champions League trophy represented the high point of Massimo Moratti’s reign as Inter’s president. Moratti is the fourth son of Angelo Moratti, who had been Inter’s owner and president during the club’s golden age from 1955 to 1968, when the team twice won the European Cup under the legendary Helenio Herrera. The current president took over the club in 1995, determined to restore Inter to its former heights, and he has spent a fortune attempting to fulfill that ambition.

"Mourinho and Moratti - the happy couple"

Using money earned from the family’s stake in Saras, an oil refiner, Moratti has repeatedly funded lavish spending sprees, twice breaking the world transfer record when buying Ronaldo from Barcelona and Christian Vieri from Lazio, but also splashing out on the likes of Roberto Baggio, Hernan Crespo and Juan Sebastian Veron.

Even so, Moratti has an impatient, not to say ruthless, side and he has gone through 14 managers in 15 years in his quest for honours, sacking many big names like the popular Luigi Simoni, Marcello Lippi, Hector Cuper and Roberto Mancini. When il Mancio was given the boot, Moratti explained that this was for the benefit of the club, “I intervened because I thought it was necessary … in the interests of Inter.”

In the past, Moratti has been criticised by many Inter fans, but he can hardly be accused of not putting his money where his mouth is, as he has spent around a billion Euros on delivering the dream. The president’s support has been an absolutely essential part of the club’s success, for the reality is that Inter do not make profits. Instead, they lose money. In fact, they lose a lot of money.

The last available accounts are for the year ending 30 June 2009 and these report an enormous loss of €154 million (£132 million). Just a blip? Not a bit of it – the previous year’s loss was very nearly as bad at €148 million and the 2007 loss was even worse at €208 million. That gives a cumulative loss of €509 million in just three years – over half a billion!

In fact, the profit and loss account has been a tale of woe throughout Moratti’s presidency. Even the reported loss of “only” €31 million in 2006 was boosted by the sale of Inter’s brand to a subsidiary, so it was really a €181 million loss after intra-group transactions had been eliminated. There were suggestions that some of the accounting entries at that time, including inflated transfer fees to secure fictitious capital gains, were a little too creative, leading to talk of a financial investigation.

There has been much discussion in the English media about gigantic losses at Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona, but the scale of Inter’s losses is breathtaking. According to the respected Il Sole 24 Ore (the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times), Inter’s combined losses during Moratti’s era amount to €1.15 billion with about €730 million of this being covered by the president.

"The immovable object"

What is particularly worrying is that Inter has produced such large losses during these highly successful years, but maybe the cause and effect are the other way round? In other words, all this silverware would not have arrived without all this expenditure. Moratti himself seems to have no doubts, advising the club’s Annual General Meeting, “The considerable loss is justified to keep our team at the top level worldwide.”

To put this into context, Tuttosport (admittedly a newspaper based in Turin) compared the relative achievements of Inter and Juventus last season. From a financial perspective, Inter’s €154 million loss was €161 million worse than the €7 million profit that Juventus made. On the pitch, Inter finished ten points ahead of Juventus, so that works out at €16 million a point. Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as that, but you can understand their, er, point.

In fairness to Inter, if last year’s accounts had been extended by one month to the end of July, the reported loss would have been €56 million lower, as the highly profitable sales of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maxwell to Barcelona would have been included. Having said that, the loss would have still been a thumping great €98 million, which is nothing to write home about.

"OK, he is a bit special"

Clearly, money alone can’t buy you success (or love) and we should give Inter a lot of credit for their sporting achievements. The self-proclaimed “special one”, Jose Mourinho, built a formidable unit, largely based on the uncompromising defence of Lucio and Walter Samuel, but also finding space for talents like the mercurial Wesley Sneijder and the goal scorer par excellence, Diego Milito. Although Mourinho is not everyone’s cup of tea (“I don’t like Italian football and it doesn’t like me”), he is a winning coach and he duly delivered a winning team, before moving on to Real Madrid. Finally Moratti had allowed his coaches a few seasons to build a squad and the positive results were there for all to see.

You may justifiably be wondering how one of Europe’s major clubs, with such a rich football tradition and such a large fan base, could possibly be struggling financially. The reasons start with their revenue.

On the face of it, Inter’s revenue is not too bad at €197 million (£167 million), which places them 9th in the Deloitte Money League, ahead of their neighbours Milan for the first time, and also represents €24 million (14%) growth over the previous year. However, problems begin to emerge when we take a closer look. Although Inter’s income is in line with the other top Italian clubs, it a long way short of their natural competitors abroad. For example, Manchester United earn £111 million more with £278 million, while the Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, generate well over £300 million, which is around twice as much revenue as Inter. This makes it difficult to compete, especially when that difference in turnover is every year.

The reasons for the shortfall are evident, as there are striking flaws in Inter’s business model. Among the top ten clubs listed in the Money league, Inter has the lowest commercial revenue of £45 million and the second lowest match day revenue of just £24 million. These are obvious financial weaknesses that the club needs to address.

At this stage, eagle-eyed observers will have noted that the revenue figures in my analysis are different from those quoted by the club. In order to be consistent with other clubs, I have used the Deloitte definition, so have excluded the following: (a) gate receipts given to visiting clubs €3.6 million; (b) TV income given to visiting clubs €17.8 million; (c) profit from player sales €11.6 million; (d) increase in asset values €3.1 million. Adding the total adjustments of €36.1 million to the Money League revenue of €196.5 million gives the €232.6 million revenue reported by Inter.

OK, that’s enough technical talk, let’s look at how Inter make their money.

Like all the big Italian clubs, the majority of the club’s revenue (59%) comes from television with €116 million, which is €8 million more than 2008. Inter’s broadcasting deal with Mediaset, extended until the end of 2009/10, earned them around €100 million gross before payments to visiting teams, which represents a significant uplift on the previous agreement with Sky Italia.

However, the growth of the Champions League has also been a key driver in the increased TV revenue with the central distributions in 2008/09 being worth €28 million. After Inter’s Champions League victory, the 2009/10 distribution will be significantly higher, as UEFA has confirmed the payment as €49 million (€7m for participation, €22 million for winning it and €20 million from the market pool).

Great stuff, but there are clouds on the horizon, starting with a price war between Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset that may ultimately impact the fees paid for the Serie A TV rights. That outcome is by no means certain, but what is definitely happening is a move to collective selling of TV rights from 2010/11.

Currently, teams like Inter sell their TV rights on an individual basis, so intuitively we would expect their television revenue to reduce due to the more equal distribution of revenue amongst all clubs. However, early projections indicate only a small decrease for Inter (€1 million) for a couple of reasons. First, the total money guaranteed by exclusive media rights partner Infront Sports will be approximately 20% higher than before at over €1 billion a year. Second, the complicated distribution formula favours the big clubs: 40% equal share; 30% based on past results (5% last season, 15% last 5 years, 10% since 1946); and 30% based on catchment area/number of fans.

"We are the champions!"

Of course, the new arrangement will mean that mid-ranking clubs earn more TV money and it will also restrict the growth potential for the larger clubs, unless those responsible for Liga Calcio can greatly increase the fees received for overseas rights, which currently lag way behind the Premier League (in particular) and La Liga. That may seem ridiculous at this time, but sport business expert Simon Chadwick believes that, “leagues on the continent will inevitably catch up with the Premier League.” We shall see – there’s certainly room for growth.

The same thing could also be said about Inter’s commercial revenue. Even after a substantial €16 million (43%) rise in 2009 to €53 million, it is still on the low side for a club of Inter’s stature. As a comparison, the opponents they defeated in the Champions League final, Bayern Munich, earned €159 million from this revenue stream last year. On the one hand, Inter have benefited from very long-term relationships with commercial partners, but on the other hand, this may have prevented them from taking up more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Pirelli have been Inter’s shirt sponsor since 1995 and are also a minority shareholder in the club, which may help explain why they only pay €9.3 million a year. Similarly, kit supplier Nike have been partners since 1998 and pay €18.1 million a year for the privilege.

"You can put your shirt on us"

These deals do not seem particularly good, considering that we are talking about the winners of the Champions League. As an example, Liverpool, who have not even qualified for the Champions League, recently signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered at €24 million a year. The same Nike that gives Inter just €18 million somehow pays €30 million to Barcelona as kit supplier. And it’s not just foreign clubs that negotiate better deals, as Milan’s sponsorship deal with Emirates is also higher at €12 million a season. Even Juventus’ deal with BetClic is only a little lower at €8 million, even though they will only display their wares in the Europa League this season - and that's just for the home shirt.

More optimistically, the next accounts should show an improvement with La Gazzetta dello Sport estimating that the Champions League win should result in an additional €6 million from sponsors, presumably due to success-based clauses in the contracts, and €8 million from merchandise sales. Nevertheless, it is clear that the commercial department needs to pull its collective finger out. Despite pre-season tours to China and the US, the club has not really managed to develop a global brand that resonates in overseas markets.

Even though marketing revenue could be higher, Inter’s real Achilles’ Heel is match day revenue, which is embarrassingly low at €28 million. In fairness, this is a common problem for all Italian clubs with Milan earning €33 million and Juventus only €17 million. However, this is considerably less than other major European clubs. Despite attracting average attendances of 55,000, Inter’s revenue per home match was only €1.1 million, compared to the top six Money League clubs who all generated at least €2.6 million. That’s a massive difference to make up.

"Breaking new ground?"

This is why Inter have been exploring plans for moving to a new stadium, possibly bringing to an end the famous ground sharing arrangement with Milan. San Siro is a wonderful old ground, but it is owned by the local council, which is very “detrimental” to Inter’s revenues, according to managing director Ernesto Paolillo. Not only does the club have to pay rent and maintenance of around €13 million a year, but it misses out on many opportunities through not owning the stadium.

The proposed ground would only be ready by 2014, holding 60,000 spectators, but importantly it would include 150 VIP boxes and 5,000 corporate seats, which could significantly enhance match day revenue. As a comparison, Arsenal make 35% of their match day revenue from just 9,000 premium seats at the Emirates. A new stadium would require a huge initial outlay (estimated at around €400 million) and is not necessarily a magic bullet, given that it would be difficult to raise ticket prices in an economic recession, but it could have a dramatically beneficial impact on Inter’s revenue. You only have to look at how Arsenal’s revenue overtook Inter’s in 2007 – the first year that the Emirates became operational – to appreciate the size of the prize.

If the club owned the stadium, it would also keep the receipts from non-sporting events like rock concerts in the summer (the likes of U2, Springsteen and the Rolling Stones have played San Siro), while it could also coin it from restaurants, parking, club shop, museum, etc. Finally, money would surely be on the table for naming rights (the Pirelli stadium, anyone?), which is more acceptable to fans when we’re talking about a new development, rather than renaming an existing ground.

All in all, the revenue is not great, but it’s not too bad. Inter’s real problem lies in the costs of €358 million (expenses €308 million plus player amortisation €50 million), which are far too high for their turnover of €197 million. They’re in the same range as Barcelona’s 2008/09 costs of €362 million, the only difference being that Barcelona’s revenue was much higher at €364 million. Basically, the impressive 2009 revenue growth of €24 million has been wiped out (and then some) by cost growth of €38 million, which is entirely down to staff costs: salaries €25 million and player amortisation €15 million.

The total wage bill stands at a jaw-dropping €205 million, which produces a wages to turnover ratio of 104%, way beyond any common sense let alone financial prudence. There has been a significant increase in wages over the last two years, rising from €162 million in 2007. In the accounts the club explains last year’s growth as being due to new players and an increase in bonus payments. The first part is accurate, as the players’ headcount increased by 6, but the second part is nonsense, as the bonus payments actually fell from €28 million to €25 million. Whatever. The fact is that Inter’s payroll is much higher than other Italian clubs: Milan paid €177 million, while the Juventus wage bill was only €130 million. Inter even paid more out in salaries than those well-known big spenders Real Madrid (€187 million), for heaven’s sake.

"Zlat's the way I like it"

However, that was then, this is now. The four highest-earning individuals at Inter in 2008/09 (Mourinho, Ibrahimovic, Adriano and Patrick Vieira) have all left the club as a sign of things to come, leaving only Samuel Eto’o in the latest list of the top 50 highest paid footballers. After the latest financial losses were announced, Moratti said that the staff costs would be cut. In particular, he spoke of a fundamental change in the structure of new salary contracts with a significantly lower guaranteed element plus higher variable payments linked to success on the pitch.

There was also a steep increase last year in player amortisation from €35 million to €50 million. That’s a lot, though it’s still on the low side compared to clubs known for being big spenders in the transfer market: Real Madrid €64 million, Chelsea €59 million and Barcelona €54 million (though this is up to €71 million in the 2009/10 accounts). Remember that amortisation is the annual cost of writing-down a player’s purchase price. For example, Christian Chivu was signed for €16 million on a five-year contract, but his transfer is only reflected in the profit and loss account via amortisation, which is booked evenly over the life of his contract, i.e. €3.2 million a year (€16 million divided by five years). Thus, the total cost of player purchases is not immediately reflected in the expenses, but increased transfer spend will ultimately result in higher amortisation.

Inter’s relatively low amortisation therefore suggests that their spending in the transfer market has slowed down and that is indeed the case. In fact, Inter have net receipts in the last two years of €45 million. This is very different to the majority of the Moratti era, in which Inter wrote the large cheques. In the 15 years since Moratti took the helm, Inter have spent €821 million on buying new players, though they have recouped over half of that, leaving a net spend of €371 million. While acknowledging that transfer fees are sometimes open to question (e.g. the fee quoted for the Ibrahimovic transfer in Inter’s accounts is different to that quoted on Barcelona’s website), there can be no argument that Inter have consistently splashed the cash.

Until now, that is, when they are giving the impression of being a selling club. They made a €12 million profit on player sales in 2008/09, largely from transferring Robert Acquafresca to Genoa and Pele (not that one) to Porto, but since then they have really done some business. After hearing that Bayern Munich had slapped a €70 million price tag on Franck Ribery, Moratti risked ridicule by saying that in that case Ibrahimovic was worth €90 million, but he was more or less vindicated when he sold the tall striker to Barcelona for €46 million plus Eto’o (estimated value €20 million) and the loan of Alex Hleb. This summer, Moratti has already realised €27 million by selling the talented, but temperamental, Mario Balotelli to Manchester City and there is talk that he may yet raise a similar sum from the sale of Brazilian full back Maicon.

In any case, player purchases are one of the reasons for Inter’s high debt levels. Actually, that statement is open to debate. In the red corner, we find our old friend, “Spain’s foremost football finance expert”, Jose Maria Gay de Liebana from the University of Barcelona, who included Inter in a list of football clubs with high debt, quoting a figure of €432 million. He certainly convinced the UEFA president Michel Platini, who also described Inter as a club steeped in debt. In the blue (and black) corner, Inter’s managing director Ernesto Paolillo has responded that Platini’s claims are excessive and mistaken: “Inter are not in debt with the banks.”

So who’s right? Actually, they’re both wrong. The Professor’s figure is for total liabilities, thus including amounts owed to trade creditors and employees, and is clearly over-stated. However, Paolillo’s claim is also palpably incorrect, as the accounts include €48 million owed to banks – not an enormous sum, but clearly more than zero.

The most accurate definition of net debt is probably the one provided by UEFA, which includes amounts owed to and from other football clubs, and this would mean total net debt for Inter of €129 million. Not great, but far from terrible.

"It's been a good year for Diego's"

In Inter’s case, paying transfer fees in stages is a significant part of their business model: they owe an incredible €99 million to other clubs, up from €62 million the year before. The largest debt is €28 million to Genoa for Milito, but other clubs waiting patiently to be paid appreciable sums include Porto €17 million, Roma €15 million, Portsmouth €9 million, Cagliari €8 million, Ternana €7 million and Cittadella €5 million.

In fairness, this transfer activity has produced €158 million of intangible assets (player values) on the books, but their market worth is much higher - €335 million per Transfermarkt.

Also, much of Inter’s “debt” is internal with €113 million owed to Group subsidiaries, which means that it’s money effectively owed to Moratti.

Having said that, we probably should not gloss over Inter’s payables of €432 million, which account for 23% of the total liabilities in Serie A. The only other club with a similar level of liabilities in Italy is Milan €364 million (19%), while the next highest is Lazio €129 million (7%). However, Inter’s figure is still a lot less than Barcelona €552 million and, especially, Real Madrid €683 million.

"Payback time"

But how is it possible for Inter to have relatively low levels of debt, given their horrendous losses?

Step forward, Signor Moratti. As Paolillo explained, “Inter, like many Italian teams, has had negative balances, but has always covered itself with capital made available by the club’s owners.” That is why the president has been such an important figure in Inter’s success. Without his generosity, there’s no way Inter would have been able to recruit the calibre of players good enough to win the Champions League. For example, Moratti injected €70 million of capital into FC Internazionale Milano S.p.A. after the last results to cover the losses, which was on top of €50 million paid in at various stages of the year. That brings the total capital paid out of Moratti’s pockets in his time as president to around three-quarters of a billion Euros. Wow.

However, this approach will not work in the future, as Inter are faced with the new challenge of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations, which will ultimately exclude from European competitions those clubs that fail to live within their means, i.e. make a profit. These will be implemented in the 2013/14 season, though the monitoring period will cover the preceding two reporting periods, 2011/12 and 2012/13, so clubs like Inter are under pressure to rapidly eradicate their losses.

"Your debt should be this small"

Wealthy owners will be allowed to absorb aggregate losses of €45 million over three years for the first two monitoring periods, so long as they are willing to cover the club’s losses by making equity contributions. The maximum permitted loss then falls to €30 million from 2015/16 and will be further reduced from 2018/19 (to an unspecified amount). However, it is clear that Inter have a long way to go to get close to this “acceptable deviation”, let alone break-even.

Paolillo admitted that Platini’s criticisms of Inter might be valid concerning the club’s “self-sufficiency”, and UEFA’s president was quick to point out: “It's mainly the owners that asked us to do something - Roman Abramovich, Silvio Berlusconi and Massimo Moratti. They do not want to fork out from their pockets any more.” Indeed, Moratti has promised, “The company's philosophy for the next two years is to have a healthy balance sheet, so we will do what is necessary to achieve this.” Paolillo confirmed Inter’s willingness to tackle the losses, “'We will be ready to meet all the standards set by UEFA and we are working on various fronts. That means cutting costs and increasing revenues.”

"Money's too tight to mention"

This heralds a new period of austerity at Inter, as the club turns over a new leaf. Paolillo has warned Inter fans that “the old times are over, as football is close to collapse.” Marcel Vulpis, the professor of sport marketing at Milan’s Bocconi University, observed, “Moratti spent hundreds of millions for ten years before his team managed to win its first title. Now the era of Moratti the big spender is over.”

Actually, UEFA’s financial initiative may be quite timely for Moratti, as his company, Saras, appears to be facing a fair few challenges of its own at the moment, having made a loss of €55 million in 2009. This meant that it did not pay a dividend, which has been Moratti family’s largest source of income (over €280 million in the previous three years). Saras also had to issue a €250 million bond in order to raise funds.

That’s the problem when a club relies on a benefactor, even one who has been so munificent over such a long period. Such a model falters if the owner gets into financial difficulties, but can also suffer if there are legal issues, illness, loss of interest, etc. In a dynasty like the Morattis, it is also legitimate to ask whether his children will share his love for Inter and want to follow in his footsteps. Fortunately for Inter fans, both his sons, Angelo Mario and Giovanni (known as Gigio), seem to share his passion for the football club.

"Super Mario - up, up and away"

That’s future music, but can the club realistically achieve the stated aim of a balanced budget in two years? The accounts talk of improvement in the figures in 2009/10, largely due to the player sales, which have the double whammy of raising cash (€56 million last summer) and taking players off the wage bill. There will also definitely be an increase in the revenue from the Champions League win: guaranteed €21 million more from UEFA’s central payments, plus an estimated €14 million from commercial deals. I have seen some estimates of net losses between €70-90 million next year, which I think is a realistic objective.

For 2010/11, Inter will still be benefiting from the Champions League, as this accounting year will include the receipts from the UEFA Super Cup (€4 million) and the FIFA Club World Cup (€8 million), but they would need to repeat their victory in Madrid to maintain their TV revenue. You would also hope that there would be an indirect benefit, as winning sporting teams hold major appeal for sponsors. Finally, transfers will also boost the books with Balotelli’s sale plus the €10 million compensation paid by Real Madrid to secure Mourinho’s services being added to the pot. However, it is questionable whether Inter fans will accept a financial strategy that involves the club selling un campione every summer. This is not really a sustainable model for a top club.

"Will he be laughing in a few months?"

Inter’s challenge is made all the more difficult by the underlying problems in Italian football. Regarded as the place to be in the 80s, Serie A has been experiencing a crisis of confidence in the last few years, being confronted by crumbling infrastructure, falling attendances, outbreaks of hooliganism and isolated incidents of racial abuse. It’s almost as if there has been an inferiority complex against the Premier League and La Liga, which is understandable off the pitch, but somewhat puzzling on the field of play, given that Italy has produced three Champions League winners in the last eight years, one more than both the other leagues.

Whatever the future holds, one thing is clear: Inter can no longer afford to win at all costs. Rafa Benitez, the new head coach, faces a tough battle to repeat last season’s spectacular success, given the club’s financial constraints. Jose Mourinho was always going to be a daunting act to follow, but Benitez may have to do it on a shoestring budget.

70 comments:

  1. Great article.
    There's something more to mention also, and it would be interesting for a financial expert like you to find some info: youth players.

    As far as i know Inter invests a lot of money (compared to other teams) on the youth system: both in a "social" way with the Inter Campus project in third-world countries dedicated essentially to kids, and with the youth teams.

    This may lead back to the original intent youth teams historically had in Italian football: to grow talented players in-house and bring them to the first squad, and also to "create" some average players you can sell to cover the system's costs.

    During the last 5/6 years, Inter had some talents in the youth teams: Martins (couple of good seasons with the first squad, then so,d to Newcastle), Pandev (sold to Lazio and now brought back on free-agent), Santon (fisrt-squad), Balotelli (huge performances, now sold to City), Acquafresca (sold to Genoa), Bonucci (sold to Genoa) and so on.
    Moreover, lots of less-talented players coming from Inter youth-system are now playing in many teams in the Serie-B: some is still owned by Inter, some already sold.

    Talents like Mattia Destro (on loan to Genoa), Caldirola (on loan to Vitesse Arnhem), Crisetig (made his debut in the Under21 national team at the age of 16yo), Ranocchia will certainly made some money.

    Maybe this could be a way, both socially (the fans) and economically (UEFA's Economical fair play) acceptable to sell a big name a year and get a proper balance.

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  2. Superb post - one of the best I've read this year.

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  3. financial doping...
    can't wait 'til some of these 'super' clubs begin to die

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  4. Great read. I still wonder what will become of Inter when the Moratti family eventually steps out. Will they become as fragile as Sensi's Roma, or will they stay afloat?

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  5. Thank you for this, and your other, articles. I have been reading your blog for a while now and am v impressed at how clear and concise your analysis is. V good read indeed.

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  6. Excellent work. Italian clubs in general have terrible revenue models away from TV and they need to fix it right away.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. wow those are astonishing numbers. thanks for the great read.

    do you think, that with the newly installed uefa fair play rule players wages at the big spending clubs backed by tycoons will go down, (inter, ac milan, chelsea, man city and less prominent examples) in order to get a more balanced ehh balance sheet.

    couldnt this result in a lot of quality players coming up for sale, because they want to protect their high wages and are looking for more potent clubs.

    could this be a reason why some big clubs havent spend so much this summer. i am mainly looking at bayern here, but also manu (even if they are in a critical position they could afford one big transfer a year i think), arsenal (who admittedly do never spend that much), but even real madrid were pretty reasonable this year(by comparison and considering their business model)
    are they all just waiting for the clubs mentioned before to get desperat to get rid of some big earners? i remember bayern munichs manegement saying, that top stars are worth their money, but average players are paid way to much and are even now difficult to offload, because of their wage demands.

    which clubs or leagues could profit/lose most because of the new rules.

    will the new overseas deal save the english clubs. will real madrid and barca be the only spanish clubs allowed in uefa competitions, or will they struggle because of a new collective spanish tv deal neccesary to save the other spanish clubs? are the german and french teams with their self proclaimed strict rules really as well prepared, as they say, or could the likes of schalke be excluded? what will happen to the other italien clubs. what about russia (kazan), netherlands and turky? i know every club is different and should be viewed independently, but is it possible for you to give some general estimations?

    huh, football financing is interesting

    cheers, robert

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  9. oh sorry something went terrebly wrong there, could you please delete my first post and this one too. it said something like page to large to process and now i kown why:)

    sorry, robert

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  10. Its Ok saying their match day revenues are terrible, but the other side of the coin is that you can go to the San Siro and watch top flight football for a fraction of the price to watch a match in England, its probably as cheap as watching the 7th tier of English football. That keeps them in touch with their original fanbases, makes it accessible and should count for something IMO.

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  11. One of the best article/analysis on sports finances I have seen

    Anjoudude
    Montreal

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  12. Brilliant article Rambler. The research it must have taken and the clarity of your writing is staggering.

    I for one, am very curious to see where Platini's financial reforms will lead, and if this will have a detrimental effect on Inter in the long run, as they are forced to cut down their spending over the next few years. Inter has always been by tradition a club ready to splash the cash (as your numbers clearly indicate) and that is a strategy which has dominated Moratti's philosophy for quite some time.

    Juventus by contrast (to give an example), have always privileged parsimony and have managed to keep spending relatively low while at the same time continuing to be a successful top club. Their new management under Agnelii/Marotta is following that same trend, and the great financial work done by Jean-Claude Blanc (THAT much at least, he has been useful for) should keep the Bianconeri relatively well-insulated when Platini's reform hit in.

    I wonder then, if the current status quo (Inter significantly superior to their rivals on the technical level) will be maintained for very long.

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  13. Great Read, gave a different view about football finance.. Seems INTER-esting.. Maybe I'll make a career in that :)

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  14. @Mirko,

    I think that's a very interesting point. Certainly, one of the intentions of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Initiative is to encourage clubs to allocate resources to developing young players.

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  15. @whinose,

    That's a good question - wealthy benefactors are great for a club until/unless they move on for whatever reason.

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  16. @Robert,

    Wow, lots of questions. Might lead to a future blog ;-)

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  17. @Anonymous (8:55),

    That's a fair point. As a fan (and former season ticket holder at San Siro), my preference would be for cheaper tickets. The problem comes when the revenue is not enough for the club to pay its way.

    One possible solution is the strategy adopted by Bayern Munich, which is to effectively fund cheap tickets via enormous commercial revenue. Granted, this will not work for all clubs, but it should be possible for a club the size of Inter to do more here.

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  18. @Marco P,

    Yes, that is indeed the question. On the pitch, I think that Benitez has inherited a very good team, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the squad needs to be rejuvenated.

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  19. Great article.. just stumbled on your blog today and really love it. Could you cover AC Milan's finances next? I'm really curious because Milan used to splash the cash every year, and suddenly from last year they're like a club nearing bankruptcy..

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  20. Another Great Article - Congratulations on getting The Guardian to list it in today's edition.

    From another German based Gooner (also born in North London who currently lives just over the border from you)

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  21. Great article, as a Manchester City fan it's great to read an article which for once doesn't single us out as the club that "ruining football."

    For me the major problem with UEFA's financial fair play rules is that they don't take into account the economic disparities between various countries. Italy simply isn't as wealthy a country as England so no matter how much Inter improve their business model they are unlikely to ever really compete with United, Arsenal and Liverpool etc.

    This is even more true for the Eastern European clubs who wouldn't be able to even come close to competing with Western European wages without the backing of "sugar daddy" owners.

    Rather than financial fair play, the entire thing smacks of protecting the elite western clubs that generate so much revenue for UEFA.

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  22. Fantastic articles on this blog.

    I am myself a Danish AC Milan fan and I would love for you to do a similar article on them. Even though most of the factors are the same as with Inter Milan.

    Brilliant work

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  23. You must have the most interesting blog in football. Thanks for the work you are putting in.

    Have you seen the Guardian problems with the Glazers? http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/24/manchester-united-glazers-mortgage-malls

    Slowjoe

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  24. @arya, @Anonymous (2:34),

    I would like to take a look at Milan, but probably not for a while, as many of the issues are indeed similar to Inter.

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  25. Great article! As for the new stadium. The Milanese Council basically vetoed it. It was reported after a council meeting, that it would cost 200M more to build the new stadium where Inter intended to, so the club put the plans on hold. Its just sad...
    Regarding the new owners. Around 2006 Moratti seriously considered selling the club. There were meetings with various candidates, the most promising was from the middle east. At the same time the GdS wrote an article about the possible italian candidates. The two most serious were the Benetton family and Leonardo Del Vecchio (founder of Luxxottica). Both are Inter fans and showed some interest in sports (Benetton - basketball, Del Vecchio - sailing), but all in all it remained just speculation, nothing materilesed. After this, the Calciopoli rocked the league, Moratti remained and we know the rest.

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  26. @Anonymous (2:33),

    Thanks. If you have not seen it already, you might be interested in an article I wrote about Manchester City, which I think is reasonably balanced:

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2010/07/is-manchester-citys-strategy-fair-play.html

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  27. @Slowjoe,

    Thanks. Yes, I've seen that and actually wrote about United's debt problems in February, when I mentioned the probable rise in interest on the PIKs:

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2010/02/greed-is-good.html

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  28. @Anonymous (3:00),

    Thanks for that additional detail. I knew that the Milanese council had not been very supportive, meaning that the projected cost would increase, but I was under the impression that Inter were still trying to persuade them of the merits of a new stadium.

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  29. @Swiss Rambler,

    I had actually seen that piece on City before but didn't realise this that this was the same blog. I will have to make sure to check in here regularly in the future.

    I wonder if you could clear up one issue for me re amortisation costs which would apply to both City and Inter. It has recently been suggested on a City forum which I frequent that it would be possible for us, or any other club, to book all amortisation costs prior to the beginning of these new rules thus significantly reducing our loses over the first few reporting periods although leading to huge reported losses initially. Is this legitimate accounting practice? And perhaps more importantly, have UEFA already thought of this and forbidden it under the rules?

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  30. Inter fan here.

    This is simply the most lucid, deep and thorough analysis of Inter finances I have ever read.

    It is impossible to get an unbiased analysis like this one from an italian source, since in Italy either you are with Inter or against them. Local papers and websites usually splash figures without putting them in context or giving the full picture to the reader.

    Thanks and kudos.

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  31. @Anonymous (3:46),

    Yes, Martin Samuel wrote about this in the Daily Mail, suggesting that City could choose the option to book all the huge transfer spend now as a cost, so that it would not impact future accounts. This is known as the "income and expense" method:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1305284/MARTIN-SAMUEL-Dont-mock-Manchester-City-silly-think-.html

    However, football clubs now all use the "capitalisation and amortisation" method to account for player transfers, which would imply that the amortisation on City's spend will impact future accounts.

    This is highly technical, but I think Samuel is wrong. Yes, UEFA's regulations do allow football clubs to choose "an accounting policy to expense the costs of acquiring a player’s registration rather than capitalise them", but this must be "permitted under their national accounting practice" (Annex VII, section C.3).

    As far as I am aware, ever since the introduction of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), FRS 10 requires investments in player contracts by football companies to be capitalised and amortised, so itb would be difficult for City to argue that the "income and expense" method was permitted.

    In fact, Matt Scott in the Guardian also thinks that City will have to go down the amortisation route (ironically on the same day that Samuel wrote his piece):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/aug/24/manchester-city-uefa-spending-rules

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  32. Excellent post - best I have read in a while
    And I read a lot!!
    CFA over here!!

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  33. Fantastic, well researched article. In the meantime Moratti has been giving lessons to Juventus, maybe he should take some lessons of management from Turin. Juventus haven't been good for the past 3 seasons but they don't have a chronic deficit, in spite of superior revenue to Inter's.

    Inter will suffer a lot in forthcoming seasons: less money from Moratti, having to sell players to balance the books, competition on the pitch from new-look Juventus (and maybe Milan) sides, and scrutiny from UEFA. I'm really looking forward to the end of the Inter hoax, financially virtuous clubs like Arsenal, Bayern, Juventus and Ajax deserve better than those clubs who buy their success on credit.

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  34. If I buy 1 player for GBP 5M on a 5 year contract every year then the income and expense method is equivalent to the amortizing method, all amortizing does is smooth expenditure. It is not possible to hide the cost of players.
    Can football clubs reduce their expenditure by paying the players in share options? The exercised options being covered by the issuance of new equity. This is then bought by the benevolent owner. There may be issues regarding the value of the shares, but non profitable internet start-ups can overcome this.

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  35. This is an excellent article.

    SO concise - you're blogging is top notch and the best blog I read now. Even though it is about the £££ side of Football. It is so intresting

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  36. Thanks again for this very informative article. I knew Inter were another suggar daddy-owned club but I'd never guessed the magnitude of the cost to the Moretti family.

    Every time I read one of your articles I always end up wondering how and when we will improve our commercial revenue. Being almost 100M behind Bayern and at the same level as teams that have a fraction of our international following is definitively holding us back. The shirt deal will be renegotiated in 3 years (or is it 4?) but that would not improve our revenue by more than 20-25M. Hopefully Ivan Gazidis is reading your articles and gets some inspiration from Bayern's many deals...

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  37. Great article, any chance of an article on Glasgow Rangers/Scottish clubs finances?

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  38. @phineas,

    Completely agree that the cost of buying players eventually catches up with clubs via amortisation, but, in your example, the expenses would only be the same in the year 5 P&L.

    I think the point the earlier poster was making is what would happen if a club like Manchester City spent enormous sums now to build a top squad and then significantly reduced their spend once the UEFA regulations started. In this case, there would be a big difference between the two accounting treatments.

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  39. @Matt,

    I am thinking of doing a detailed article on commercial revenue, but the amount of research required to do a good job is rather daunting ;-)

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  40. @John,

    Funnily enough, I am thinking of writing an article on a Scottish club in the near future.

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  41. Hi great article, just a correction : Hleb refused to go to Inter, and reportedly Barca paid 5M more on the agreed sum to make up for it. The figure I knew for the whole transfer was Ibra = Eto'o + 50M.

    And a question : Where exactly would fit the cash prizes given by UEFA for good CL performances (the famous 49M Inter is supposed to receive) in the three source of revenue for the team (Match day, Commercial, TV rights) ?

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  42. @Anonymous,

    Thanks. Yes, you're absolutely right. Hleb ended up going to Stuttgart. I knew there was some additional financial compensation, but could not find the exact sum.

    Re the Champions League distribution, which UEFA has confirmed as exactly €48,759,000 for 2009/10, this will be shown under TV revenue.

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  43. hi i got another question too: isn't the amortization per year only defined by the contract between the two clubs involved (defining the total amount) and the first contract of the player at his new club( defining the period of time). and couldn't mancity therefor sign player on a one or two year contract with the option of extension. or is the amortization redefined with every contract extension?

    furthermore: how are player transfers involving exchanges of players and cash handled?

    cheers robert

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  44. Re the discussion on expensing transfer fees immediately vs. amortisation: you refer to the use of IFRS, but of course most countries don't require IFRS to be used by the relatively small entities that football clubs are.

    As an example close to my heart: in the Netherlands all clubs in the top division use the amortisation method, except the defending champions FC Twente, who expense everything immediately. Under Dutch GAAP both methods are allowed. As a result, Twente have negative equity and have been put in the category 'to be monitored closely' by the Dutch FA in their capacity of financial supervisor. Consequently, Twente are not allowed to make certain commitments without prior approval from the DFA, which is seen by fans as a punishment for taking a very prudent approach. Taking this into absurd territory is the fact that the DFA itself stated that Twente would only have to change accoutning methods to get out of that category...

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  45. "The most accurate definition of net debt is probably the one provided by UEFA, which includes amounts owed to and from other football clubs, and this would mean total net debt for Inter of €129 million. Not great, but far from terrible."

    King of ruins your whole argument. Neither Milan or Juve have any debts. Your figures don't add up.

    Serie A clubs spent about €220 million on transfers last season, that's €20 million more than the Bundesliga, €300 million and €200 million less than clubs from the EPL and La Liga respectively. Inter were responsible for 1/4 of Serie A spending but also took in €40 million from the sale of Ibrahimovic, Juve spent €40 odd million, the rest spent a pittance.

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  46. @Mehdi,

    Sorry, but I don't see how that paragraph "kind of ruins" my whole argument. If you believe that, then you clearly have not understood it.

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  47. @EuropeanBear,

    Thanks. I did not know that about Twente.

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  48. @Robert,

    1. Where a contract is extended, any unamortised costs together with the new costs relating to the contract extension are amortised
    over the term of the new contract. In any case, I'm not sure that any player would sign a contract for 1-2 years (unless there was a considerable signing-on fee).

    2. Where the purchase of a player involves a non-cash consideration,
    such as a player exchange, the transaction is accounted for using an estimate of the market value for that player. That is open to some manipulation, but not too much, otherwise it would be questioned by the auditors.

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  49. SwissRambler, awesome site, I'm really enjoying it, although the posts are a bit short...

    I see you answered part of my question already in Robert's question, but I'll try to further complicate it since I am also interested in how clubs use amortization.

    Lets say player A is bought for 15mm and signed to a 5 year annual contract of 4mm (total 20mm). After 3 years, the player is re-negotiating the contract and agrees upon a 4.5mm annual contract. Would the remaining 6mm of the amortized cost be stretched over 4 years now?

    Keep up the good work!

    (And if you ever get the urge to delve into the MLS, I'll be your first reader)

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. @Money Covers,

    In your example, the player's cost of 15m will be amortised at 3m a year, as he has a 5 year contract, so after 3 years the total amortisation will be 9m and the carrying value in the accounts will be 6m.

    It's not clear in your example whether the contract re-negotiation for a salary increase also means that his contract is extended for a further 2 years, but that would make sense give the 4 years you mention in the question.

    Assuming that is the case, the remaining 6m would then be amortised over 4 years at a lower rate of 1.5m a year.

    If it is only a salary increase without any contract extension, there would be no impact on the annual amortisation, which would remain at 3m a year.

    Hope that makes it a little clearer.

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  52. I wish I could write stuff this good.

    I wish the Guardian would list my blog in "what we liked this week"

    I wish, I wish...

    Tony Attwood

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  53. your excellent financial analysis deserves an unconditional praise.

    there's only one indirect (I mean, not depending on your effort) limit I see in that: top flight italian football teams are generally known to be managed by resorting to several off-balance sheet items.

    eg I mean that a significant part of players' wages and other liabilities are paid via bank accounts in tax havens (the italian IRS demands the 50% of professional players' *official* wage, more or less).

    As a consequence financial statements don't provide a true and fair view; moreover, comparisons between clubs are difficult because the relevance of these "unofficial" items is different among different clubs.

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  54. @SwissRambler

    I did mean to state the contract was extended an additional 2 years, thanks for clarifying. Keep up the good work.

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  55. inter-moratti=mafia

    what I have written and 'only a small part of the ugly things of someone who defines fair par excellence.
    peer network file search and ... good luck

    All 'Uefa really like the "school Facchetti"
    Wolfheze (Ola) - C 'is a card of' Inter studying to Facchetti. If Barbara's daughter 's unforgettable Hyacinth, now permanently working for FIFA (deals for meetings and ceremonial events), Andrea Butti, chief press officer of the club Inter, is busy these days in Holland in a second look. L 'Uefa, with which cooperates Butti time, gave the first official function: responsible media stadium in Arnhem, one of four plants that are hosting the' European under-21. A job that rewards also 'Inter in continuity with the great Facchetti today would be proud to see what was a farm worker to enter the' rooms' Uefa when he was at home.

    inter, uefa e walter gagg:
    Walter Gagg, Sepp Blatter's right hand man and currently the executive staff of Inter. Salary in effect by Massimo Moratti.

    phone interception
    Facchetti (inter presidernt)-De Santis (referee), March 24, 2005

    Facchetti: Maximum
    De Santis: How are you Hyacinth?
    Facchetti: Well, are you?
    De Santis: I must compliment you well, you interests of arbitrators ...
    Facchetti: Eh ... we'll see, but I know that we are involved in many of ...
    De Santis: And okay, all are interested, now is the topic of the day
    Facchetti: Already in Paris?
    De Santis: No, I leave tomorrow morning
    Facchetti: Why I called Gagg Bla ... uh, is there too
    De Santis: Oh, Walter is in Paris? "
    Facchetti: It also comes with with him ... and told me that I wore my regards.
    De Santis: Oh yes, otherwise I give them to him.
    Facchetti: Anyway come to say goodbye
    De Santis: Were you happy ... It was well chosen place: France-Switzerland is interested in both, those who in one way for the other ...

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  56. inter winner of the champios league :

    Have you noticed what is the official sponsor of the Champions League this year?

    Nos do you waste time ... Unicredit ....

    Do you know who is the chairman of Unicredit?

    Here too much help?

    Paolo Savona ...

    Many of you ask? Who is it?

    Simple ... adviser c.d.a. of the international F.C.

    after the race valid for the Inter-Barcelona Champions League semi-final, the Spanish press throwing accusations against the referee Olegario Benquerencia, defining the company Inter as a "robbery Portuguese. "Theft Italian". A few days later the news comes out that actually Benquerencia between Mourinho and there is a friendship that lasted over ten years and apparently the two were also business partners to manage a restaurant.

    One wonders why the Uefa has gone along with the choice to arbitrate a Portuguese, for a team coached by a Portuguese, especially considering that Benquerencia became famous in 2004 at the direction of Benfica - Porto marked by a gross error in favor of arbitration Porto (then coached by Jose Mourinho) and for which he was chosen to referee the nickname "O Larápio" (the thief).

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  57. WHERE THE MONEY TAKES MORATTI?

    The money to buy players Massimo Moratti takes you from here in this small village on the coast of Sardinia. But do not feel excluded: you too are helping to invest in the team. Every time you pay the electricity bill. Sarroch is in the province of Cagliari.
    There stands the establishment of the Saras refinery, the family company of the oil Moratti, founded in 1962 by Father Angelo (former president of the Inter). The satellite is seen that the plant is much larger metropolitan area. It is on the coast, to allow the berthing of tankers: one quarter of the oil transported by ship in the world goes from here, from the sea of Sardinia. It is the largest oil refinery in the Mediterranean by production capacity: 15 million tonnes per year of crude oil Treaty, which mostly comes from Libya and North Sea. Customers include Shell, Repsol, Total, Eni, Q8, Tamoil. The accounts of Saras are excellent: 5.5 billion euros in revenues in 2005, a good 48% more than in 2004, and earnings for 332 million (again, more than 47% on 2004). And in early march 2006 things even better, with net results that doubled over the same period in 2005. Saras employs 1,600 people. But the real jewel of the company's plant in the South East is the powerhouse Sarlux. The Sarlux is a company owned 100% by Saras. The plant produces electricity by burning waste processing that produces Saras refining oil. This difference is called TAR, also called "heavy fuel oil, a semi-solid pitch that could be used to make asphalt, and that to be gasified and burned is sprinkled with oxygen. It is a highly polluting fuel, much of the methane is usually used in power stations. The plant burns 150 tons of tar per hour. Besides CO2, nitrogen oxides emissions and different at the end of the year without a dowry burning 1,400 tons of waste from concentrated sulfur and metals such as vanadium and nickel. The energy generated by the plant Sarlux is all bought by a public entity, the Manager of the electrical system (GRTN), which pays twice the true market. This is because the Italian law for the plant is a plant Sarlux "assimilated" to renewable sources, and therefore should be encouraged as these. How is it possible that a central processing waste oil burning is paid like a solar system we owe to the infamous measure Cip6 (Interministerial Committee prices) in 1992. At that time the government decided to facilitate the construction of renewable guaranteeing to buy (at the time by Enel) electricity at a higher price, twice and sometimes three times, and for the community, through the bills, 's burden of supporting clean energy. But then spread this opportunity also to a limited number of plants that use other sources which he called "assimilated", and that renewed had nothing: namely gas, coal, tar waste. Since then even the Italians pay 10% more in bill thought to contribute to the spread of clean energy. Instead 80% of those contributions end up in facilities like that of Moratti. For 2005 we are talking about a total of over 3.1 billion euros (2.3 billion were in 2004). Today Cip6 mechanism was superseded by that of green certificates created in 1999, which does not "assimilated" sources, but the agreements signed in the past are still the most active. Sarlux is not the only one to benefit from this situation. The list of recipients is not public, but we know that half of the cake Cip6 ends in Edison, which belongs to France's EDF. Other oil companies such as Garrone Erg or Brachetti Peretti of Bees enjoy the incentives with similar plants, which produce that electricity by burning waste oil processing. But the installation of Moratti has some interesting peculiarities: the first is that it is one of the largest, with its 575 megawatts of power and 4 billion kilowatt-hours produced per year. The second feature is that it is among the last to have access to incentives, since the convention started on 8 January 2001.
    continua..........

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  58. A fine piece of writing. Thanks a lot for a lucid analysis. It's kind of depressing to see it ruined by the latest deluded comments by Juventus fans, but that's life.

    All in all, I have to say that I still fail to understand the basic reasoning behind stopping someone to dispose of his money as he prefers. If Moratti wants to spend 1 billion Euros on his football team , what's the rationale in a capitalistic world for stopping that to happen?

    I agree with whoever said that this will have the immediate result of protecting the status quo. Whoever has a large fan following and can get high revenues from matchdays will stay on top. This will pretty much put an end to "new entries", such as Manchester City.

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  59. Very nice article, too bad that the fans of Juventus, dirtying everything they touch, know nothing, they can not lose, they won only stealing and the courts have ruled in favor of those who believed these things.

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  60. If you tell me what these courts to confirm your theories I would be grateful because the courts, not the real ones led by former Inter and telecom board, leaving quite different things.

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  61. It's quite funny to read the nonsense comments written in a "macaroni style" by a handful of Moggi groupies, not undertanding the depth of an article like this one.

    Very interesting article indeed, every football fan should read. This is much more helpful to understand the financials of soccer clubs than thousands of newspaper's articles full of misleading numbers.

    Excellent job, Swiss Rambler

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  62. italian mafia(Berlusconi,Galliani Moratti, Baldini, Carraro, Abete,Matarrese,ecc..ecc..) destroyed Juventus FC. The italian Television & newspapers are not credible because to many interest.

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  63. Please, listen to me.
    I'm a juventus fun, and I know Internazionale last season has been the best italian team, and one of the best in Europe. We must recognize it.
    But we feel really alone. Here in Italy nobody listens for us!
    Why Internazionale has become so strong? When has it begun? From 2006, the year of destruction of Juventus.
    Economical damage, in case of Serie B, was approximated at about 130 mln, but sure this society lost more.
    Internal family war (montezemolo-elkan versus agnelli-moggi-giraudo) and interests of other societies made the most important scandal of last years.
    We're not joking, we're not just funs!
    If moggi had been guilty, we would have accepted the answer of the Court, but there isn't ONE fact to prove this!
    It's really a scandal! Internazionale has begun winning since 2006, with a scudetto (2005-2006) given to them by Guido Rossi (Italian federation commissario straordinario) who was a president of telecom and in the counsil of Internazionale.
    Just 70 phon calls was used to accuse Moggi and Giraudo, about 70 calls...but interceptation were about 200.000!!!! They were damned after a process of 20 days! Try to verify, and you'll understand if we're wrong! We're reporting facts, data and reality!
    Moggi's defense is writing down the other phon calls, and many of them are important to cancel the theory of "moggi mafioso". Also Facchetti and Moratti and Meani and Galliani and many other people called Bergamo and even referee...and really decided about referees choices! Our newspapers refuse to explain, because one of them (la Gazzetta dello Sport) helped Carabinieri to find out Moggi's relationships.
    Football, you know, is also polithics and economics, is business! Every team try to win! Moggi was one of them, not the Big One! Juventus won thanks to Del Piero, Trezeguet, Buffon, Thuram, Cannavaro, Nedved, Camoranesi, Vieira, Zidane, Ferrara, Peruzzi, Vialli, Ravanelli, Deschamps, Conte, ....is it enough? I mean, you can't win with ten terrible players+Ronaldo. We won with 10-11 world champions!
    But why international press has never written about FALSE PASSPORT of Internazionale player Recoba? Do you know Oriali was punished with 6 months of JAIL?
    WHY?

    Now congratulation to Inter... yes, of course... by destroying the team which was the stronger italian team in that moment!

    OPEN YOUR EYES, please!

    Congratulation to author, but I wanted to add this important precisations to understand the TRUTH.

    Thanks.
    Davide

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  64. I don't want to ruin an interesting and well-done article!
    But everyone has the right to write and tell everything.
    I remember you I'm not a moggi's supporter! I really want to stress my position on italian football. I can agree with SwissRamble, but whenever you analyze a situation, you always must understand causes and effects.
    When you study literature, economics or art, you have to collocate the problem in the particular environment in which it develops!

    But as usual nobody will answer me/us with real facts, real court decisions or numbers...

    This is Italy.
    I'm sorry, but everyone would know the truth.

    Davide

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  65. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  66. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  67. Now Juventus fans (widows of Luciano Moggi) come here to ruin this serious blog...

    Good job!

    Shame on you...

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  68. I don't think I'm ruining this blog, which is really well-done.
    I've just given my opinion.
    Sometimes it's hard to face the truth, I must confess I'd behave just like you if I didn't know the real facts. But this article (and even my comments) are not a Moggi's defense, but I want to attack Moratti's management by an economical and sportive point of view.
    I repeat: Internazionale could benefit from a ruling, come from a trial without the last level of justice! and this process was made without witnesses!!! and it lasted just 20 days!!! and sentence declared Juventus hadn't done any wrongdoing! but anyway they invented it! and a glorious society, probably thanks to the part of society near to Montezemolo, was pit in serie B!
    Nobody told anything, because everybody hate juventus...

    Davide

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  69. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  70. Would love to see an update to Inters current situation since they are in the process of building a stadium ...

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