Inter Milan president Erick Thohir has moved to dispel reports he is looking to sell part of his majority share in the Serie A giants in a bid to stem financial losses.
As part of the International Sports Capital consortium, Indonesian businessman Thohir bought a 70% stake in the club in November 2013, eventually taking over the presidency of the 2010 Champions League winners from Massimo Moratti.
Recent reports said Inter had charged the Goldman Sachs investment bank with unearthing potential investors in the club, leading to a special report in Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday which suggested Thohir is looking to offload part of his stake, possibly to investors from China.
But a hastily-issued club statement refuted the claims: “F.C. Internazionale categorically denies that the President and majority shareholder, Erick Thohir, is looking to sell any part of his 70% majority stake in the Italian club.
“As part of a well-planned mid to long-term business strategy, the club has asked Goldman Sachs to explore the possibility of identifying potential future commercial partners in Asia.
“This is a normal procedure given the huge growth of investment in sports, and football in particular, in Asia and China specifically.”
Inter Milan are the last Italian club to triumph in the Champions League, claiming a historic treble haul of trophies under former coach Jose Mourinho in 2010.
Roberto Mancini, who steered the club to seven trophies, including three successive league titles, in 2004-2008, has been at the helm since the start of the 2014-2015 season.
After missing out on Europe this term, Mancini is hoping to steer Inter back into the lucrative group stages of the Champions League next season, but will first have to overcome several rivals amid a highly competitive Serie A championship.
Inter currently sit fifth in Serie A, 10 points behind leaders Juventus but only four behind third-placed Fiorentina. AC Milan and Roma are also targeting a top three finish, and with it a Champions League place, this season.
Yet the club’s ambitions this season have also been restricted by UEFA sanctions. Inter were one of 10 clubs in Europe to be sanctioned for breaching UEFA’s financial fair play regulations.
The Italian club agreed to pay a fine of up to 20 million euros ($22 million), which came out of the revenues received from playing in last season’s Europa League.
In addition, Inter agreed to “report a maximum break-even deficit of 30 million euros for the financial year ending in 2016 and no break-even deficit for the financial year ending in 2017.”
Inter said its “commercial and sporting plans” were “firmly on track” and added the club was “working closely with UEFA in order to respect the financial fair play regulations”.
The statement added: “The club remains committed to a return to Europe – a clear target to compete at the highest levels of club competitions.” – Agence France-Presse