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Bologna FC team suffered a €28.4 mn loss in June 2015, before climbing back to the top league

by Gianni Dragoni

The up and down from Serie A to Serie B has cost Bologna FC a net loss of €28.4 million in the accounts signed by Joey Saputo, the Canadian businessman with Italian roots who on October 15, 2014 bought Bologna FC from the consortium of local entrepreneurs which owned the club for four years.

The consortium, chaired by Albano Guaraldi, saw the participation of singer Gianni Morandi and financial expert Giovani Consorte (ex Unipol) among others, each had paid €700,000, in addition to the businessman Massimo Zanetti (caffè Segafredo).

Saputo, who was already the founder of a football club in Canada, Montreal Impact, made a rough landing in Bologna. The magnitude of their losses in the June 2015 accounts were at Serie A levels, despite having played their last season in Serie B. Last June, the team was once again promoted to Serie A, having finished third. Now, in the top league, Bologna is in fifteenth place.

The impact on accounts is very big, it follows a loss of €16 million in the previous year, up to June 30, 2014. With the demotion to Serie B, total revenues, excluding the capital gains from “calciomercato,” or sales of players, have decreased from €45.87 to €26.54 million. The cost of personnel, despite having decreased from €39 to €29.3 million, alone has exceeded revenues.

Even capital gains from the sale of players have decreased, a means with which teams try to cover part of their management deficit: the net capital gains of the losses were just €3.1 million, compared to €18.2 million in the previous budget.

The most fruitful deal was the sale of Panagiotis Konè to Udinese Calcio for €5 million, of which €3.78 million were a capital gain.

Upon Saputo’s arrival to Bologna he had Joe Tacopina, American lawyer known for being in the group that in 2011 bought AS Roma of which he was Vice President, as an associate. But following his departure from AS Roma, Tacopina’s season at Bologna was even shorter, he stepped down after less than a year on September 19.

He is now the Chairman of another football club, Venezia FC, which plays in the amateur Serie D, which was bought by another American, James Daniels.

The control of Bologna FC 1909 (in short: BFC 1909) is owned by an S.A. based in Luxembourg, BFC 1909 Lux Spv Sa. This is owned by the BFC 1909 USA Spv LLC, an American company in which Saputo has interests. Upon his arrival to Bologna FC, Tacopina was a partner, he then had a disagreement with Saputo and left Bologna, with a severance pay of nearly €3 million.

Among the group of associates, there was also Park Lane, an investment bank that deals with sports transactions. With this whirlwind of acronyms and different countries, Bologna’s shareholder structure is not particularly transparent.

What is certain is that Saputo’s venture with Bologna has cost a lot. The Canadian immediately injected €11.88 million into the club with an increase of capital in order to take control of the team, plus another €24.68 million in the first six months of this year. But this has not been enough. Between September and October, BFC 1909 Lux Spv deposited another €9 million, an advance payment on a new recapitalization of a total of €35 million which Saputo has undertaken to pay for the needs of the club.