Soccer-Inter must cut wages to survive COVID-19 hit, says Marotta

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(Reuters) - Inter Milan CEO Giuseppe Marotta says the Italian club must reduce its wage bill to keep its business sustainable in the face of the financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inter won their first Serie A title in 11 years at the start of May but reports in the Italian media say players and staff have been asked to sacrifice two months' wages to help ease the economic situation.

"The COVID-19 phenomenon has hit hard a business that was already difficult to sustain," Marotta told TG3.

"Now the main objective is to reduce costs, therefore also wages, which have a big impact, and then we must make the most of the resources at our disposal.”

La Repubblica reported on Thursday that Inter players and staff had refused a plea from club president Steven Zhang to give up two months' wages.

A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed the report to Reuters.

Marotta said earlier in May https://www.reuters.com/world/china/soccer-inter-milan-ceo-says-owner-looking-partner-boost-liquidity-2021-05-03 that Inter's owners, Chinese retail giant Suning, are looking for a partner to inject fresh funds into the club.

And he has now hinted that the club will not be spending big in the forthcoming summer transfer window.

"We will guarantee maximum dedication and give everything to reach new objectives," he said.

"The equation that whoever spends the most wins is not always valid."

Inter were one of three Italian clubs involved in last month's failed European Super League project, along with AC Milan and Juventus.

The breakaway league fell apart within 48 hours after most founding clubs, including Inter, pulled out following a fierce public backlash.

However, Marotta underlined that he believes the current football model requires a revamp.

"The gap between the Italian and English teams is quite evident. It's not a coincidence that the Champions League final is between two English clubs and Manchester United are in the Europa League final," he said.

"We are still a little behind the performances of the early 2000s that saw the Italian clubs at the top.

"We have work to do, but the model also needs to be reviewed."

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Hugh Lawson)