Furlani expects ‘new phase of growth’ for Milan through investment and stadium

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s CEO Giorgio Furlani has confirmed the plans to expand in the Middle East amid rumours that investment could arrive from that area into the club.

Gerry Cardinale’s fund RedBird Capital completed the takeover of Milan from Elliott Management in August of 2022, having agreed to pay €1.2bn for the club.

The first season was a success financially, with Milan registering a profit for the first time in over 15 years, but there was great disappointment on the pitch as they failed to follow up their Scudetto success.

Over the past few months, there have been a growing number of stories regarding the corporate future of the club, with rumours ranging from a takeover by PIF to potential strategic partnerships.

Cardinale recently ruled out the idea of him giving up control of the club in an interview with Corriere della Sera, but did open to the possibility of welcoming investment through minority stakeholders.

Furlani explained the strategic intentions of the club during the Investcopia 2024 event held in Adu Dhabi, and his comments were relayed by Radio Rossonera.

Tell us about your background…

“Before taking on the role of CEO, the focus was on implementing a turnaround, with priority on efficient management and profitability. Subsequently, an exciting phase of global growth was initiated with the acquisition of RedBird Capital Partners, which led to my appointment as CEO.”

Why Dubai and the Middle East?

“Thanks to the leadership of our ownership, we are strategically positioned to enter a new phase of growth, with a strong focus also on the Middle Eastern market. We are here to talk about investments in football and one of the main investors is undoubtedly our partner Emirates.

“This is the 15th year we have had Emirates on our shirt and this shows the strength of our relationship, they are a wonderful partner. The opening of an office in Dubai is a further testament to our commitment to the region for further collaboration and growth.

“Dubai and the surrounding region are of great importance to us and we foresee continued expansion and growth opportunities with Emirates, consolidating our presence in this market.”

Investing in sport seems to be a trend…

“When evaluating the attractiveness of the sports market, various factors come into play. The transformation of the industry from a purely ‘recreational’ activity to a truly thriving economic sector has significantly increased its appeal.

“Furthermore, governance and institutional investments have further contributed to its growth potential. With RedBird’s experience in this sector, we are well positioned to seize emerging opportunities.

“Considerations such as liquidity needs and regulatory frameworks have played a crucial role, especially in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Leagues and clubs have faced unprecedented financial pressures, making investments necessary to navigate uncertain times.

“Looking ahead, the sports industry remains fertile ground for partners, sponsors and advertisers, given its broad participation and entertainment value.”

What can you tell us about the Private Equity and Investment Strategy?

“In terms of business strategy, we operate on three key pillars: football – the reason we exist; financial sustainability – you need to be financially sustainable; and social responsibility – we are not just a football club, but a social and cultural institution.

“Regarding the second pillar, being sustainable is crucial for attracting capital. We have seen this in our financial structure. The other aspect is about growing the club.

“We have something called intellectual capital and we work together with other financial capital providers to develop business models and bring the two together. This ranges from Academies to the retail sector, from experiential to the medical sector.

“Premier League clubs and top-flight continental clubs stand out as promising investment targets within the sports industry. The strong structure of these alloys, particularly in Europe and the United States, offers substantial opportunities for investors seeking long-term profitability.”

What is the future of Milan?

“Looking ahead, AC Milan’s future path includes the continuation of our international expansion journey in the Middle East and America, together with the ambitious project of a new stadium in San Donato.

“Our current stadium, with its age and limitations, no longer meets the standards necessary to provide an optimal experience for our fans.”


Tags AC Milan Giorgio Furlani


  1. Growth?


    We won the Scudetto and made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League and then decided to have a revolution!

    If we finish 2nd or 3rd or whatever and make it to the latter stage of the EUROPA LEAGUE – what are we going to do?

    I’ve read 4 key signings.

    Let’s see if they can stick to that and impress.

    But I am sceptical of the growth decree given what has gone on.

    1. “We won the Scudetto and made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League and then decided to have a revolution!”

      They decided to give more power to Pioli and here’s the outcome.

      1. Hmm, I don’t think we can blame Pioli entirely for not doing as well this season or last, but I am willing to lay more blame on him if he’s 100% behind the injury crisis.

          1. Many of you guys don’t understand basic maths. In 1 financial year, Milan have revenue and income, minus expenses. At the bottom line, difference between those two must be positive.
            Sport is gamble. No one know, what players, coach and team will do in 1 season. They buy best possible players for lower possible prices. If they knew, that this team will win champions league Cup next season, they would invest more.
            They can invest maximum possible amount that will be covered in season,with revenue that Milan will get if stays in 4th or 3rd place in serie a, and if team catches champions league every year.
            When Milan starts to have 500 million euros per year, without player sales, then Milan can spend 150 million gross on Salaries, plus 100 million per year on ammortisation.

      2. True.

        And judging by his recent rotations he doesn’t seem to have learned that the reason some players failed was because they were fielded in entirely new starting line ups and then hauled off at half time……

    2. Furlani is in charge of the brand and finance, he’s not a football executive, that’s why he only speaks about money in Wall Street slang. Some of the fans have already accepted that we are now a company “not different from a widget factory” as Jerry himself would say. Middle East is where the money is, these guys can smell it like sharks smell blood. French president Macron (former investment banker) hosted the emir of Qatar this week.

      1. I wish we were a widget factory!

        Widget factories don’t change their processes every few months!

        No, we need to stop believing the myth that football clubs are ‘businesses’. They’re not. They’re hobbies and vehicle for sports washing and laundering money for agents and the various hangers on.

        And they definitely aren’t organisations dedicated to developing footballers or improving the game.

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