Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter was appointed to the board of his soccer team AC Milan at its annual meeting today.
Barbara Berlusconi joins the 74-year-old’s son, Paolo, as a director of the seven-time European champion, which also announced that its annual loss widened to 69.8 million euros ($101 million) from 9.8 million euros as broadcasting revenue and income from player sales declined.
“Barbara’s appointment should give optimism to all the supporters,” Chief Executive Officer Adriano Galliani said today. “It reflects a renewed commitment to AC Milan by the Berlusconi family, who have always supported the team.”
AC Milan is on course for its first Serie A title since 2004. It leads second-placed Napoli by six points and is a further two points ahead of cross-town rival Inter Milan, which won the last five championships.
The change in fortune follows increased investment in the squad. Milan paid a combined 42 million euros to sign forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho before the season and added Italy national team forward Antonio Cassano in the midseason transfer window. Berlusconi had been criticized by supporters in the past for not spending.
Around 3,000 Milan supporters protested at the club’s training facility last July to urge Berlusconi to sell the team, calling him an “absentee owner.” A return to the spending that characterized the early years of his reign has revived the fans’ interest.
The revival is an echo of how Berlusconi returned the team to glory following his acquisition of the club in 1986. It won its first championship since 1979 in his second season before going on to win five of its seven European Cups.
AC Milan’s revenue declined 18 percent to 253.2 million euros in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, the team said. Galliani said the decline was because the team sold Brazilian attacker Kaka for a then world record 68 million euros to Real Madrid in June 2009. He also said a change in the way Serie A sells its television rights hurt sales.
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