x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

the sale has attracted some criticism, much of it based on plain suspicion of foreign investment, writes Ian Hawkey.

Inter Milan's Diego Milito, centre,, celebrates with his teammates after scoring against Sassuolo. Marco Vasini / AP Photo
Inter Milan's Diego Milito, centre,, celebrates with his teammates after scoring against Sassuolo. Marco Vasini / AP Photo

It was an emotional weekend for Inter Milan. Diego Milito greeted tearfully the two goals that, he hopes, suggest he has made the sort of recovery from a serious knee injury he at times thought impossible, during his seven-month lay-off.

And as Massimo Moratti watched his beloved Inter beat Sassuolo 7-0 the club president became emotional about his 18 years in charge.

Within two weeks, the transfer of a majority stake to the Indonesian billionaire Erick Thohir should be completed, bringing to an end the long control of Inter by the Moratti family. Massimo’s father, Angelo, was the president for 13 years, until 1968.

Moratti told supporters that Thohir’s wealth and commitment ensured “a better future” for a club who, three years after winning the Uefa Champions League, did not qualify for Europe this season.

Though Moratti will stay on as a minority shareholder, the sale has attracted some criticism, much of it based on plain suspicion of foreign investment. In Italian football, ownership from abroad is not as widespread as in England’s Premier League, or as impactful as it has become in France, and while it is the nature of supporters to feel possessive and protective, the assumption that outside interests come into the game with only negative motives and no empathy for the culture of the sport is misguided.

Ask Roma fans, few of whom worry right now about their American stakeholders, who made Roma the first in Serie A to be mainly owned from abroad. They are currently top of the league.

sports@thenational.ae