Most of the attention in the dramatic world of football transfers is paid to the untold millions changing hands as the biggest stars switch from one super wealthy club to another, or from one mid-level club to the very top of the European football scene. However, these deals often have knock-on affects for smaller clubs, who usually receive a relative windfall thanks to their contributions to a player’s development via the solidarity payment system.
For example, back in 2004, Didier Drogba's transfer to Chelsea from Olympique Marseille on a then staggering £24 million fee helped French club Levallois, located in the Paris suburbs, upgrade their facilities with the £700,000 they received in solidarity fees. This summer, Chelsea ended up helping a small Italian club, AS Sora, located in the hometown of Davide Zappacosta.
Zappacosta played for Sora from age 6 to 16, the last four years of which count for the solidarity system. Here’s Sora president Davide Belardi explaining the situation to TMW.
"As soon as I knew of Zappacosta's transfer to Chelsea, I started working. And through some personal knowledge, including AIC lawyer Valerio Bernardi and my lawyer Filippo Pirisi, the long talk of solidarity [payments] began."
"That’s 5% of the transfer money to be subdivided into clubs where the player has played from 12 to 22. And Zappacosta had played in this club for four years."
"After weeks of long and desperate work, we found the deal with Chelsea and we paid back all the debts."
Now with their obligations paid, hopes are that Sora, who folded in 2015 over an "insurmountable amount of debt", can have a more stable future. The Zappacosta family even have a personal interest!
"It’s a new company made of serious people. It’s in Promozione, and guess who’s the assistant manager? Roberto Zappacosta, father of Davide."
-Davide Belardi; Source: Tutto Mercato Web
A win-win-win situation!