Thursday April 17 2014
‘Inter’s future involves Mazzarri’

Marco Fassone has outlined Inter’s future plans both financially and for the League and confirms they do include Walter Mazzarri.

Speculation has been that Mazzarri is under pressure to at least achieve Europa League qualification to ensure he remains in his post for next term.

“The Europa League is not a hidden goal. Inter must be in a Cup after a year without,” began director general Fassone to Sky Sport Italia today, before clarifying over Mazzarri.

“The Coach has been asked to take the team as high as possible, he is doing a great job and I have already mentioned to him that we are planning for the future.

“It will certainly involve Mazzarri. And specifically there is no correlation between his tenure and qualifying for Europe. A possible renewal then? Of course, we will talk.

“We don't set ourselves targets, but the competitions we play in need Inter to be prominent, we won't trot out excuses. Inter need to be competitive on the pitch, within the timeframe it typically takes between the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.”

Fassone was asked about the club’s plans presented to the bank recently.

“I think it comes down to the three pillars President Thohir has always spoken about: first, have a healthy club - economically self-sufficient and not dependent on money from shareholders. Second, a winning team: the two need to go hand in hand. Third, produce spectacular football,” continued the director, in quotes run also on Inter’s official website.

“Thohir is also a media and communications man and he knows that winning is important and he wants to do so by putting on a show. These are the three points that all of us in management are basing our work on.

“There are two things that need to be done to get the club financially stable: cut costs - something we've been doing now for two years - this year for the first time the shareholders will see a gross margin in the black - a first sign of a healthy club - and then we need to increase revenue, because cutting costs is not enough.

“We want to compete again in the near future. Having at least partially sorted out costs, we are now very focused on building revenue.

“We plan to balance the books within the next two to three years. A lot depends on whether we're in the Champions League - it can have an impact on 25 per cent of a Serie A club's revenue - as playing in it would allow us to get there a bit quicker, whereas it will take longer if we're not involved in Europe.

“But this is not gospel, we simply want to try and balance the books in the next two to three years. We mustn't forget that Financial Fair Play began in 2010, even if we wanted to we couldn't give ourselves more time as we have to respect UEFA regulations.”

Fassone considered Thohir’s ambition spoken about previously to regenerate interest in Serie A as a whole, as well as the Nerazzurri.

“That's one of the key points of Thohir's philosophy. I think he chose Italy even before choosing Inter when he decided to make an investment in European football.

“I think he chose Italy because of the huge potential for growth it has, especially abroad. Thohir was himself witness to it because he can remember Serie A up until 15 or 20 years ago, when it was the most popular League not only in Indonesia but Asia generally.

“In the last 15-20 years we've seen the rise of popularity and the level of football in other leagues. Today Serie A is the fourth most popular in Indonesia and this slide from first to fourth coincides with the same drop in the UEFA rankings - it's simultaneously a loss of popularity in the TV audiences and competitiveness on the field.

“But in that sense Italy and not only Inter has everything it needs, because if we were competitive just four years ago it means that's we've lost ground, and probably time in introducing a series of processes that have already been introduced in other leagues.

“It's basically just a case of copying some of the things that have been done elsewhere, and then the footballing culture we have in Italy can give us a competitive advantage which will enable us to get back up among the best in a short space of time.”

Fassone was asked where Serie A had fallen behind.

“There are aspects which affect the technical side and others the economic side. At the Lega we're discussing a series of approaches which will allow us to become more competitive: for example limiting squads to a maximum of 25 players, something that already happens in Europe, setting up a second or reserve team for sides in Serie A, or giving them the chance to have another team in Lega Pro, something which is currently not allowed yet occurs elsewhere.

“We want to create a number of parameters which make us use young players developed in our academies in our first teams and European football. Reducing the league from 20 to 18 teams would definitely help.

“Then there are other ways to increase the game's popularity abroad, to create passion for our league overseas, which is not simply a case of getting the world's best players coming back to Italy, but also for example adopting television broadcasting slots that suit the Asian market.

“We need to have full stadiums - not like in Italy where arenas are less than 50 per cent full on average - keep an eye on television production, because when you watch a Premier League match, even if it's not between two top teams, you still see a very high level product, something which doesn't yet happen here for every game.

“As of next year, we will tweak a number of things to move further towards these measures, i.e. a squad that is in line with the competitions we're involved in, a mix between experienced and young players, as the President has said on many occasions, to reach our goal of an average age of 26.5. Some of what needs to be the plan for Italian football as a whole might already be visible at Inter from next season.”

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