On the brink

Genoa CFC owners 777 Partners are attempting to re-structure their club's debt to the Italian tax authorities, which currently stands at over 106 million euro. The Italian club faces bankruptcy if the Court of Genoa does not agree to the operation, while other creditors of the club are still owed an extra 160 million.

By Philippe Auclair and Paul Brown

Ever since they entered the football world by taking a minority stake in Spanish La Liga club Sevilla in 2018, the 777 Group has stuck to a consistent strategy. The clubs they've identified as potential targets for acquisition all share a similar profile. They are "legacy clubs" with a proud history, "sleeping giants" who've fallen on hard times and are under-performing both on or off the field. To use Josh Wander's turn of phrase, they are "distressed assets" which 777's managing partner insists can be turned around despite registering huge losses and being laden with eight- and even nine-digit debts.

Genoa CFC fits the description perfectly. They celebrated their 130th anniversary last September, which makes them Italy's oldest surviving football club. They've been crowned national champions more often – nine times –  than any other Italian club, bar the Leviathans Juventus, Internazionale and Milan; but they haven't won a single trophy since the 1936-37 Coppa Italia and were relegated to the second tier in 2021-22, 777's first season as owners. They've bounced back since, and, after a worrying start to this campaign, currently sit in 13th place of the Serie A table, five points above the relegation zone.

But what is happening at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, the home they share with arch-rival Sampdoria, will be of less concern to 777 than what will soon happen at the

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