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Gerry Cardinale admits AC Milan fans are genuine 'partners'

  /  autty

Gerry Cardinale admits he sees AC Milan fans as genuine 'partners'.

The RedBird boss says he is still learning about the culture of football outside the US.

He said at the Qatar Economic Forum: “The answer is that in these years as owners of Milan we have experienced exactly what we expected. But knowing it theoretically and experiencing it firsthand, on your own skin, has differences. I say this because our 'partners' in AC Milan are the fans and I take this very seriously. In America team and club owners don't have this type of 'partnership', but in European football it is something you have to take seriously.

"In Italian football you have to take it very seriously, and I do. There's an opportunity here, at least in our investment thesis, to professionalize how these things are handled. These are no longer 'hobbies for rich people', now you see that institutional capital is attracted to these situations because these are multi-billion dollar live event entertainment businesses. You have to have a balance. The fans obviously always want to win. The irony in sports is that if you win every year you make the competition less interesting.

"The human element and its unpredictability is what makes these things so precious. But in any case it is obvious that you always set out to win the championship, to get as far as possible in the competition.

"To do this you need to find a balance between the short-term goal of winning every year and the long-term goal of sustainability and consistency in reducing volatility and variation in performance. These things shouldn't just lead to income, that would be lazy, but should instead increase cash flow, which is a good thing. Reinvest cash flow to improve the team and win.

"It's a virtuous circle, no different from what happens in any other company. It's just that here emotion takes over from time to time, and this is where the best thing we can do to steward this asset for Italy and for the fans is to make sure we set it up for long-term success. Then it's obvious that we want to win every year. Here's the interesting thing. We have never been a majority shareholder of such a large sporting entity before. We certainly went around them, like with the Yankees or the Cowboys, but that's part of the learning process."