Italian Serie B football club Frosinone has launched a €1m (£882,000/$1.2m) mini-bond to transform its home ground into a community stadium.
The Frosinone Bond, said to be the first in Italian football history, will be a partnership between the club and its supporters, allowing fans to invest in the club.
The bond will support the club in its plan to create a state-of-the-art stadium and improved facilities, including a shopping village and community medical centre.
Tifosy, the fan funding platform that the club is using, allows supporters to invest in leading clubs and earlier this year launched the first mini-bond in English football, raising £600,000 for League Two club Stevenage to build a new all-seater stand.
Frosinone president Maurizio Stirpe said: “This is an opportunity for us to make improvements that were not previously possible. With the Frosinone village, a medical centre and a restaurant open seven days a week, we are creating a hub for the whole Frosinone community.
“We chose to raise the funds through Tifosy rather than by going to banks or shareholders because we see this as an opportunity to create a real sense of belonging for our fans.
“That added connection will inspire our fan base that they can make a difference in developing the future of this club. It is no small thing that this is the first case of a fan-funded mini-bond in Italian football, and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop this project as a community.”
In October, Frosinone became only the fourth club in Italy to own its stadium, with the opening of its Stadio Benito Stirpe.
The next phase of development will include restaurants and bars to improve the matchday experience and shops, fitness and healthcare facilities to offer a complete leisure experience for the whole community all year round.
In exchange for investment in the Frosinone Bond, bondholders will receive eight per cent interest per annum – made up of five per cent cash and three per cent club credit to spend on season tickets, regular tickets and merchandise each year for the duration of the bond, at the end of which they will be repaid their initial investment.
Investors can contribute any amount, with a minimum investment of €500 and in €500 increments.
Tifosy co-founder Gianluca Vialli said: “Clubs and fans working together for a common goal can make a real difference to the sport we love. Clubs need to make their fans partners, not customers.
“I am proud to be involved in this historic initiative, launching the first mini-bond in Italian football, and believe we can help Frosinone create a home for the community, which is an investment in their future.
“I believe Frosinone will become trailblazers in Italian football. Other clubs will be able to follow this model, transforming the football landscape”.
Image: Arch Enrico Renzi