Wacker Innsbruck: A new financier with a questionable reputation

Sport

Mikhail Ponomarew helps the second division side out of a tight spot financially. In Germany, the Russian made negative headlines.

Wacker Innsbruck: A new financier with a questionable reputation

At least one thing has been learned from the recent past at FC Wacker Innsbruck. The new financier is not praised as a “financially strong partner”, “investor” or “patron”, but is called for what he is: someone who provides the clammy second division club with money that he – ideally – can put back into want some shape back.

A financial company headed by Mikhail Ponomarew and his partners is providing bridging finance to secure gaming operations , FC Wacker wrote to its members.

So the next one. After Matthias Siems, the alleged offspring of a long-established Hamburg merchant family, Wacker has already pulled someone ashore again. In contrast to the North German, who keeps a great secret about himself, there are pictures and entries of Mikhail Ponomarew on Wikipedia.

What can be read about the Russian should cause horror rather than relief among Wacker fans. The aforementioned Mikhail Ponomarev has a dubious reputation. The entrepreneur has already been involved in several sports clubs in the past ten years, most recently he wanted to lead the traditional German club KFC Uerdingen out of its insignificance back into the second division.

But the project ended in chaos. Insolvency proceedings were initiated only a few weeks ago through KFC Uerdingen and the club's license for the third division was withdrawn. The German news magazine “Der Spiegel” only dedicated an article of several pages to Mikhail Ponomarew in the May 22nd issue, which, politely, does not make the Russians appear in a good light.

Why does FC Wacker even get involved with someone like that?

It is probably pure despair and hopelessness that drive the club's managers. The ten-time champion was already on the brink in winter 2020 – and then found someone in Matthias Siems who made Wacker dream of a great future. A year and a half later, the club faced the financial abyss again this summer.

Without the money from the hamburger, who had transferred almost 3 million euros to the club, a rigid austerity course would have threatened. In a future paper that the club sent to its sponsors, the various scenarios were outlined: The way B would have been a reduction of the budget to 3.3 million euros, all areas would have been cut to “a minimum”.

The alternative is now called Mikhail Ponomarew, who, according to FC Wacker, should not have any direct influence on the club. At the KFC Uerdingen it was different at the time, the Russian had already appeared in the dressing room once. “Der Spiegel” quoted the player Manuel Konrad as saying: “I've never seen such a monster in the dressing room.”

The fact that FC Wacker Innsbruck is now once again dependent on foreign money only makes it clear how the club's image is in their own country. Emotionally, the ten-time champion is still the undisputed number one in Tyrol – this was not least evident in the 8-0 Cup success in the city derby against Reichenau – but Wacker Innsbruck has recently lost a lot of public sympathy.

Hands off – that is the motto for some regional donors. On top of that, it caused irritation all over the country, which inflated personnel apparatus the second division team has. Until Friday, FC Wacker employed five (!) Full-time board members who, according to information from the Kronenzeitung , are reflected in the budget with 600,000 euros annually. In addition, there is a handsome staff in the office.

On Friday, the two board members Peter Margreiter and Felix Kozubek resigned from office, and employees of the office are also leaving the association.

The agreement with Mikhail Ponomarew was simply the last straw for FC Wacker and appears to the club officials as the least evil.

In a statement by the board of directors, it says: We are glad that we succeeded in averting variant C with this mix of measures. We would have had to part with 14 players and 14 employees. There would have been significant savings in all other areas as well. It is impossible to imagine what could have happened to our traditional Tyrolean club. The bridging financing and sponsorship successes allow us to continue on the path we have chosen. Nevertheless, sensible savings are made. Now we can all concentrate on the essentials, football. To a successful and great season 2021/22.

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