Norwich issue £3.5m Academy bond with Vialli

NORWICH CITY have launched a £3.5m bond through a platform run by Gianluca Vialli in order to “build a state-of-the-art Academy”.

The money raised by the five-year bond, which has a maximum £5m threshold, will be “ring-fenced to ensure it is invested in facilities at Colney” and maintain the club’s Category 1 Academy status, according to Norwich.

The minimum investment will be £500, with no upper limit. The bond will pay 5% gross interest annually and investors will receive a one-off 25% bonus if the club is promoted within the five years. The bond is being issued by Tifosy, an “equity crowd-funding platform”, which was co-founded by Vialli and investment banker Fausto Zanetton.

It has already helped Portsmouth raise £270k to give its Academy a permanent base and £600k for Stevenage to build a new North Stand. Vialli has previously said: “It is about helping football clubs raise money to become a bit more sustainable and financially sound.”

In relation to the Norwich bond, the Italian said: “A strong Academy is the lifeblood of any club and supporters love to see local players break through to the first team.

“Norwich City wants to invest in its Academy and the Tifosy platform gives supporters the chance to become partners with the Club, investing together in its future. We are excited by the Club’s long-term vision to develop more of its own young players and are delighted to be supporting the Canaries Bond.”

Norwich Managing Director Steve Stone added: “Developing the Academy is a vital part of our strategy for the long-term future of Norwich City, securing Category 1 status into the foreseeable future.

“We have a firm commitment to produce more young talent to play for our first team and this work is an essential part of this. All support for the Canaries Bond will make a major difference to this Football Club in the years ahead. I will be investing along with many of my colleagues at Carrow Road and Colney and members of the Board.”

Sporting Director Stuart Webber said the investment was necessary because Norwich had fallen “quite a way behind in terms of being an elite Academy”.

“Let’s not talk about Manchester City or Chelsea, they’re different clubs," he said, "but let’s say Wolves or Derby, or even Blackburn – I’d say we’re quite a way behind.

“Players come to Colney and they’re disappointed. When I’ve shown players around Colney they’ve gone, ‘oh, is this it?’ This will all then have a knock-on effect to the first-team building as well."

The public launch of the bond will be on March 28 and it will close no later than May 25. The club added: “As with all unsecured investments, the Canaries Bond does put the investor’s capital at risk.”

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