Felice Saladini returns to talk about Reggina. At this stage in Reggio Calabria a new buyer is being sought for the club after the Ilari parenthesis and preparations are being made for the appeal to the Council of State.
He had pledged to put the company into safe hands. Today we are starting from scratch.
I’m worried about how things are going after the sale, the assumptions were completely different. Today I no longer have any role. I have dealt with the fund and have had no part in choosing who represents it. I sold the club to a fund that had given me ample guarantees of commitment and concrete resources. From that moment my role ended. Today I think we need to stick together to play the match on August 29th. All the institutional, political, entrepreneurial and professional forces of Reggio and Calabria must spend themselves for this. Reggina is not just football.
Why weren’t the famous 750,000 euros, which became grounds for exclusion from Serie B, paid by June 20 despite someone having advised them to do so?
I would like to make two key points of this story: the first point is that when there is a sentence from a court it is assumed that this constitutes the legal reference of any subsequent act. Whether we have to ask ourselves whether the sentence is valid or not is a fact, let’s say, original, and as far as I’m concerned, unexpected. The second point is that we speak of millions of euros as if they were abstract values. For that deadline we paid almost 5 and a half million euros. It’s not play money.
Why was it not possible to hear his voice for two months? Are you aware that this has fueled discontent and tensions?
I have started negotiations to finalize the sale of the company. Confidentiality was needed, any comment or intervention could jeopardize this phase which was essential to give the club a future. Then, from July 5 I no longer had any title.
If you went back, would you do the press conference with which you announced with great fanfare the approval of the restructuring plan that football didn’t like?
I would do it again. Because it was a very important step for the club and for all of professional football.
You said you invested 15 million. Why was the debt restructured at the end of December higher than at 30 June 2022?
Between September and November they were subject to legal actions by creditors we did not know, even by managements from previous years, who began to take individual actions against the company, undermining business continuity. We had two paths: make it fail due to the debt burden that continued to rise or resort to a debt restructuring instrument made available by Italian law. And so it was!
What relationship have you had with the football institutions in recent months? Had no one warned you about the road taken?
Interlocutions with sports institutions have been continuous. Witness the constant and excellent work of President Marcello Cardona, both with the Federation and with the League, which also wanted him as vicar vice president of his social enterprise. No one, not even me, could have thought that following a state law could jeopardize enrolment.
Before the transfer, was it really not possible to pay off the workers’ debts at Sant’Agata? Some have several months’ payments arrears
As long as the company was managed by us, all dues were paid according to their due dates. Reggina was then sold from 5 July with a preliminary agreement which was then concluded on 20 July.
Why did Saladini see little or nothing from January onwards?
I am an entrepreneur who believes in managing his own companies. In Reggina there were professionals who know the world of football much better than me. Starting from the board of directors, passing through all the extraordinary organizational and communication resources, up to the sporting director and the coach with his staff.
Wouldn’t it have been better to bring Reggina up to registration before selling?
The need to find a new corporate structure that would change the interlocutors was evident. Above all for the choices of sports justice which seemed to want to punish our legitimate business choices. For the good of Reggina and its continuity, despite myself, I had to take note of what was happening, leaving the club. I have experienced extraordinary emotions this year and I fully understand the disappointment of the fans.
You are ready to go all the way to the European Court. What would it be good for after a possible definitive exclusion from the championship?
To assert our reasons and demonstrate that we have operated in compliance with the law. That’s what it would do, to make it clear that the rules have been strictly followed as I’ve been saying for months, but I really hope we don’t have to go that far.
Is there anything you wouldn’t do again?
In June of last year nobody came forward to save the club which would have gone bankrupt after a few hours. I wanted to give my contribution in a Region, my own, in which there is a need to do things rather than complain or worse, criticize the work of others. I found resources, preparing myself for personal renunciations, to save the company. However, I realized that a specific culture is needed to be an entrepreneur in a sector that has particular rules and ways of acting. Reluctantly and passionately I realized that perhaps the world of football is not for me.