GdS: PIF rumours erupt again as Cardinale seeks capital for Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will take to the field against Slavia Praha in the Europa League tonight, but fans are talking about matters off the field after the latest round of rumours.

This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) recalls how at the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit towards the end of last month, Gerry Cardinale spoke about the desire to evolve and left a very clear thought to Calcio e Finanza.

“There is a lot of capital in the Middle East interested in investing in sport. We are open to collaborating with potential partners who could join us either as sponsors or partners in the construction of the new stadium, or as minority shareholders,” he said.

The meaning is clear, confirmed by the recent trips by the RedBird founder to the Persian Gulf: Cardinale is looking for investors ready to believe in him and in his fund’s initiatives. Milan are not the only potential recipient, but RedBird are at the centre regardless.

Contacts with PIF

The Public Investment Fund – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund – is certainly one of the natural interlocutors for a businessman looking for capital in the Middle East. Yesterday PIF were the subject of a story from Il Sole 24 Ore about interest in Milan and RedBird.

Cardinale certainly spoke with PIF representatives and in those meetings he discussed Milan. From here to considering the operation as advanced (and thus imagining a future of multi-million dollar expenses and revolutions for Milan) will take some time.

PIF in 2021 led a consortium that bought Newcastle, which quickly became a top English club. The doubt about a second operation with Milan is definitely legitimate, for regulatory and opportunity issues.

At this point, we must add that sources close to the situation have told us there are no ongoing negotiations between PIF and Gerry Cardinale regarding AC Milan.

Restrictions and precedents

The UEFA regulation on the Champions League – and in general on its competitions – prohibits in article 5 the same owner from controlling more than one club registered in the same tournament (Milan and Newcastle were even in the same group).

The article, complex enough as it is, explains that the same person or the same legal entity cannot own the majority of two clubs or even just exercise a decisive influence on two clubs. It is very restrictive in words, less so in substance.

In fact, UEFA gave the green light to the Red Bull group for the coexistence of Leipzig and Salzburg and, more recently, Cardinale himself resigned from the Toulouse board of directors to avoid problems of coexistence with Milan.

UEFA made Toulouse’s entry into the Europa League conditional on a series of conditions and everything continued peacefully. Rather, it is fair to ask whether it would make sense for PIF to own Newcastle and invest in another top club like Milan.

The experiences of City Football Group (Man City, New York City FC, Melbourne City, Mumbai City, Torque, Troyes, Lommel, Girona, Shenzhen Peng City, Yokohama Marinos, Bahia and Palermo) and Qatar Sports Investments (PSG and Braga) are decidedly different.


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