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Inter return to Pirelli with tails between their legs

After threatening to end the sponsorship with Pirelli and an embarrassing situation with Etihad Airways, Inter are set to continue their previous sponsorship but on Pirelli's terms.

Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Inter's main sponsors have been Pirelli since 1995/96 and while other clubs have left old sponsors in order to find more lucrative deals, Inter have stuck with the Italian tire company. As a result both Juventus and Milan make more from their shirt sponsors than Inter (about €17m a year for the two clubs versus the €14m Inter currently gets). Despite being partners for so long relations between Inter and Pirelli have been less than ideal recently.

It all started back in May of last year when Marco Tronchetti Provera, the president of Pirelli, threatened to end their sponsorship of the Nerazzurri if they did not start improving their performances and return to European football. As a result of this statement, and due to the desire to find a better paying sponsorship, Inter officials began to see if there were other companies interested in joining up with the club. They were approached by Valerio Lattanzio who said he was a representative of Etihad Airways and claimed the company was willing to sponsor Inter with €25m a year. At this point Inter stopped negotiating with Pirelli and began trying to make a deal with the airline company through Lattanzio. Soon afterwards however Etihad Airways denied any negotiations or basic inquiries for a sponsorship deal with Inter. Authorities quickly discovered that the entire affair was a scam with Lattanzio trying to pocket a very large amount of commission money from Inter.

After that epic failure and time winding down with Pirelli's current deal, it looks like Inter and Pirelli are about to continue their partnership for a few more years. There's just one little problem: Pirelli knew how desperate Inter was and looks to be making the deal as favorable to them as possible. Current reports suggest that the new deal will be for 3 years but the tire company will only be guaranteeing Inter €9m a year. They say that the money can almost double given certain "performance related bonuses", and while the details of those bonuses have not been released, it can be assumed that they are probably tied to the club at least returning to the Champions League. Well now the club has even more incentive to do everything in its power to finish the season in the Champions League; failure will not only risk the club losing its best players, but it will see the club lose even more money as well.