Shareholders’ Meeting Speech – President, Steven Zhang
Shareholders’ Meeting Speech – President, Steven Zhang
Club— Oct 28th 2022
It is my absolute pleasure to finally be back together with you in person for the first time since the shareholders’ meeting three years ago.
During this difficult period of time, so many things have changed, but our love and passion for Inter have remained steadfast. The last few years have been tough, but we have got through them together with determination and ambition, as seen by our haul of three trophies after an 11-year wait. Today we can share with you the financial results for our club for 2021/22, which saw Inter take strides forward in Italy and in Europe, while in financial terms it was the first season in which there were signs of recovery after the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the 2019 shareholders’ meeting, we shared with you all-time record revenue figures for Inter, which was the first successful milestone on the journey that we started out on in 2016 when the club was in very testing conditions. In this time, investments worth €1 billion have been made, laying the foundations for a new era at Inter in which Champions League football has been a regular feature since 2018, with the team also reaching a European final, while there has been domestic success with one Scudetto, one Coppa Italia and one Italian Super Cup.
We have brought Inter on to the contemporary football scene, created a media company and a global brand, while taking the team back to success. Our goal now is to remain consistently at the highest level.
Last season, we were finally able to see San Siro packed out with Nerazzurri fans once again and feel the support for the team on the pitch emanating from the terraces. Thanks to all of you, we battled until the end for the championship and won our eighth Coppa Italia and sixth Italian Super Cup. En route to those achievements, we experienced a whole range of emotions – from victory over our long-standing rivals to a magical night at Anfield.
Our European path took us as far as the round of 16 in the Champions League for the first time in ten years, and just two days ago we managed to replicate that success, which nobody thought possible on the day of the draw. Once again, however, our ambition and determination have taken us far. Our players are performing with their heads held high and showing bravery against every side we face, in keeping with this club’s unwavering pedigree on the European stage.
There is a victory that is arguably more important to celebrate, as it relates to our future. Our Primavera side won the tenth Scudetto in our history, becoming the most decorated youth team in Italy and the very first to reach this milestone. Inter Women continue to showcase our ambition by achieving more and more impressive results.
We were brave enough to tackle the pandemic with dynamism and the ability to pick ourselves back up and remain at the top. Staying at the highest level in terms of our performances is our priority, as always. Thanks to all the hard work carried out by the entire sporting area and CEO Sport Giuseppe Marotta, the team is now equipped to go after all the targets that we have set for this season.
The commitment shown by the corporate area, led by CEO Alessandro Antonello, has ensured that, despite the difficult global context, the club has set a new record for revenue in the last year and registered a reduction in losses over the financial year.
The expansion of the Inter brand is an opportunity that the club has to keep cultivating and it is a key lever through which revenue can be increased.
A key moment in the new Inter era was the launch of the club’s new crest in spring 2021, a symbol of the evolution of Inter from a footballing icon to a cultural icon.
Last season, our club reinforced the connection with the city of Milan through collaborations with outstanding brands in the field of fashion and design, with the partnership with Moncler standing out among those.
The first training session this season for the first team was staged on the new pitch in Appiano Gentile, where restructuring and improvement works are still ongoing to upgrade the cutting-edge facilities in terms of sustainability and technological integration, reflecting the club’s history and heritage along with its future. Suning Youth Development Centre is also fully active, with the facility dedicated to developing the club’s youth academy and having the honour of receiving the ECA Youth Football Award for its educational project this year.
Technological infrastructure is also essential when it comes to developing a club that looks ahead to the future. At the start of the season, we launched our new digital ecosystem, which was another new step forward as part of the pathway that began in 2017 with the launch of Inter Media House – another move to bring Nerazzurri fans the world over closer together. We redesigned the digital experience for our supporters with a new digital ecosystem that places us among the leaders in our industry in terms of fan engagement.
The biggest of the infrastructural projects for the club is the new stadium and the San Siro district. It is a significant investment that is considered essential to bridge the gap separating us from the top. It is a necessary project in terms of relations with all of our stakeholders, first and foremost with all of our supporters, who deserve a home ground that is on a par with our ambitions. We have no hesitation about driving this project forward.
Today, we are sharing a result that shows that we are on the right path and are once again on a positive trend, while gradually counterbalancing the impact of the negative financial situation caused by the pandemic and global context. A radical change in the global landscape struck at a time of expansion for the club and forced us to be more cautious, but we are still moving forward without stopping.
The pathway is mapped out, but there is still a lot to do.
Football finds itself at a crucial crossroads in its history where it needs to continue to open itself up to and mix with the language and tools employed by younger generations if it wants to continue to survive.
Inter is ready. We are ready.
Ever since we took over the club, the same speculation has been rife every day. We know that Inter always makes headline news. In the last few weeks, I have been reading on a daily basis that the club’s future is expected to be cleared up today. But, as I reiterated the other night, the reality is that the club’s future has never been in question and our vision for Inter has been crystal clear since 2016.
As owners, along with the managers of the Club, we have already shown just that in recent years by taking the club higher and further across the globe, by forging new connections and generating groundbreaking ideas. Our commitment is long term, to guarantee a future that is in line with the club’s illustrious history.
It is necessary to continue down this path, carried forward by sporting ambition and the lure of our brand, thanks to the passion emanating from our fans the world over. They are the reason the club is fighting for a second star and for victory on every pitch, while being committed to ensuring the project champions sustainable growth in this sector at an institutional level. Our promise is to fight like champions on and off the pitch.