Massimo Moratti has resigned as FC Internazionale president with Giacinto Facchetti set to replace him.
A statement on Inter's official website read: "Internazionale announce that president Massimo Moratti and advisers Marco Tronchetti Provera, Paolo Giulini, Angelo Mario Moratti and Angelo Moratti have given their resignations to the club's board of directors. President Moratti has indicated the name of vice-president Giacinto Facchetti for the position of president."
UEFA Cup triumph
The son of the most successful Inter president ever, Angelo Moratti who led Inter to win two European Champion Clubs' Cup wins in the 1960s, took over in 1995. With him as president Inter won a UEFA Cup in 1998 and were twice runners-up in Serie A.
Ten coaches in nine years
In nine years he tried ten different coaches and signed several stars like Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Christian Vieri, Roberto Baggio, Gabriel Batistuta and Hernán Crespo among others but did not manage to win the Scudetto. Inter won their last Serie A title in 1989.
Moratti, who still owns the club, said: "It is not a drama. This is a decision that allows me to take a step back to see things better. Nothing more. There is no change of ownership and this is something that happens at other clubs too."
Inter suffered a second successive defeat in Serie A on Sunday at home to unfancied Empoli FC, leaving them eleven points behind leaders AS Roma and prompting angry protests from fans.
It is not the first time Moratti has stood down as president. He did so in May 1999 in similar circumstances but was soon back in charge of the club. Sunday's defeat came after a week of intense speculation surrounding the future of Inter striker Christian Vieri.
Newspaper reports said Vieri was ready to follow the example of Real Madrid CF striker Ronaldo and leave Inter before the end of his contract. The striker's failure to attend an Italian Cup match against Udinese Calcio prompted talk of a rift between the player and the club. Vieri, suffering a muscle strain, missed the defeat by Empoli.
Inter's chances of ending their 14-year wait for the title now look slim after another frustrating year for Moratti. He sacked Argentinian coach Héctor Cúper in October and replaced him with Alberto Zaccheroni, but after a promising spell of form under their new coach Inter have slumped again.
Marco Tronchetti Provera, chairman of Telecom Italia and
Pirelli, who is a major financial backer of the team, also stood down from the club's board of directors. Pirelli own nearly 20 per cent of Inter's shares and were closely involved in bringing Brazilian Ronaldo to the club. Two other members of the Moratti family, Massimo's son and his grandson Angelo Mario Moratti and Angelo Moratti, also quit along with board member Paolo Giulini.