Virtus Segafredo Bologna CEO Luca Baraldi was interviewed by the Bolognese newspapers for a point of view on the situation in the Casa Virtus.
“The appointment of Massimo Zanetti as President is perhaps the most important step since he decided to invest in Virtus. It was also an ethical choice because we want to become a model of corporate management. We have recently completed the two million euro capital increase: Segafredo Zanetti has gone to 99.49% of the shares, Virtus Foundation now has 0.50%, while the remaining 0.01% are two shares owned by Claudio and Fabio Sabatini. The cooperative world exited by not exercising its option right.”
Then a point about the team: “Today there is no market, both inbound and outbound. On Alexander we have an exit option in December, but the boy has qualities on which I would continue to invest. Ruzzier is held in high esteem by the coach and there are no plans for him to leave. Coach Scariolo is doing a great job: we are young both in terms of age and in terms of reciprocal knowledge, what we lack we will find with time. The four defeats of October are now over. Our biggest opponent is ourselves. The team has had problems between injuries and the fact that it is a young group, not only in terms of age, but also due to the fact that there are many new players. The company has invested a lot, immediately finding replacements for the injuries of Udoh and Abass. We have continued this year to invest in Italian players and the fact that our Amedeo Tessitori is the captain of the National team tells us that we are on the right track. I have read about Petrucci’s proposal to change the rules of use, I have read about plans to abolish quotas, we have focused on it and we ask, if the rules change, at least three years of transition. But we do not like the free-for-all. Investing in Italian players is important as well as socially essential.”
Virtus returned to the Segafredo Arena: “There is a three-year agreement with the Fair, to have an attractive home, with a large square for commercial operators and playground for children to play. A place to feel good. And just do basketball. Like the stable arena that we will build later on the grounds of the Fair. We want to go back to filling the arenas and we ask that the top basketball officials talk to the fans. Here we do it, others will follow us. The fans have formulated proposals to return to the palasport in their own “standing zone” in compliance with the rules, making themselves responsible for sanitation and any tracking of positives. We will be at their side on all tables sharing this line of responsibility of theirs.”
Then a comment on the politics of basketball, both Italian and European: “Going to the Euroleague today on an economic level is a tragedy. I have great respect for Bertomeu, I shared 100% of all the projects he told us about before being challenged for reasons that I do not know. Now new faces should be identified. This Eurocup format is out of any logic, the luckiest will win, not the best. The way of the field is the only way to get to the Euroleague, there are no B plans. When Bertomeu came to Bologna he said that the restructuring of the Euroleague will start in 2023-24 and at that time there would be room for us regardless of the results. We have to see if his plans, now that he has been challenged, will be respected. In LBA, Gandini’s management has improved the league but it is still not enough to bring revenues to the clubs. There are many interests that are not being put into a common factor and until this happens, it will be difficult to grow. It is necessary to put the shareholders in a position to have feedback in revenues, regarding television rights, for example, otherwise it is just a matter of having fun and onerous. The basketball world is too self-conservative, we won’t get far with this approach.”
The A.D. also made a point about the women’s team: “It’s a movement that is growing a lot in quantity and quality, we care a lot and President Zanetti cares a lot about bringing the first title to Bologna. We ask everyone to stay close to us, we have applied pricing policies such as to promote women’s basketball, which is our only interest.”