MILAN, Oct 25 — Juventus president Andrea Agnelli yesterday got the overwhelming backing of the club’s shareholders for a €300 million (RM1.39 billion) capital increase to help boost the Italian club’s global ambitions.
Despite losses of €39.9 million (US$44m) last season, Agnelli asked shareholders for a major investment as part of a five-year plan to keep pace with European rivals such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.
The request was approved by 99.97 per cent of the shareholders present at the meeting.
“The objective of this capital increase is the future development in a wide-ranging horizon,” Agnelli told shareholders at the club’s Allianz Stadium in Turin.
“We must imagine this season as a new year zero, with the desire and determination to think big.
“We must be extremely proud of our development and our growth rates, but we must keep with the pace.
“These numbers seem enormous when compared to the Italian reality, but our point of reference is the great European clubs.”
Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing in 2018 was central to Juventus’s ambitions to expand their brand globally.
And Agnelli said that he hoped the 34-year-old would lift a sixth Ballon d’Or title this year.
“I hope that Cristiano can win the Ballon d’Or because he deserves it,” said Agnelli.
Despite their domination in Italy, winning the last eight Serie A titles, Juventus have not lifted the Champions League trophy since 1996.
“Juve is the biggest football club in Italy but only one of the big ones in Europe,” he said.
“If we look at the big names of England, Spain and Germany, their turnover is between 500 million and a billion,” said Agnelli.
The recapitalisation would be part of a five-year development plan from 2019-24.
“The vision of the new plan must be to make Juventus prosper as a global brand, recognized by all stakeholders and future generations as a modern, innovative and iconic brand,” he said.
Club revenues up to June 30 last were €494.4 million, a 20 per cent increase on the previous year, Agnelli said.
However, the financial year to June 30 closed in the red with losses of €39.9 million, nearly double the €19.2 million deficit in 2018.
After ditching their iconic black and white striped jersey last season, the club also have a new ‘J’ logo, and on the pitch are looking for a new eye-catching style of football under new coach Maurizio Sarri.
In addition the team have invested heavily in their new “J-Hotel,” 300 metres from their Turin stadium and the “J-Medical”, the private clinic of the club.
“We have allocated around €400 million to direct and indirect investments in real estate development,” said Agnelli.
“Our growth is confirmed by our Uefa ranking: We are currently fifth but we have reasonable grounds to think about finishing fourth,” said Agnelli.
“We have become the fourth fan base club in Europe. Furthermore, our new office in Hong Kong will allow us to grow further in that part of the world.”
Agnelli said women’s football was an area of growth with their Juventus women’s team winning the last two Italian league titles.
Juventus also announced that US car manufacturer Jeep had agreed to increase its sponsorship from €25 million to €42 million a year for the next two seasons.
Jeep are owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which belongs to Juventus’s majority shareholder Exor, which belongs to the Agnelli family.
Along with their deal with German sportswear manufacturer Adidas it brings the club’s sponsorship to over US$100 million per season. — AFP