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SBD Global/April 29, 2013/International Football
Juventus President Agnelli Says Italian Football Dragged Down By Country's Woes
Published April 29, 2013
THE OLD LADY: Juventus is nicknamed La Vecchia Signora, “the Old Lady,” but Agnelli notes another description: “Juventus is known as ‘the girlfriend of Italy.’ It’s probably the woman everyone wants to be with.” Italian football is not "beautiful any more." As with many things in Italy, former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi "must take some blame." When he was prime minister, "Italy became a country where Berlusconi voters and Berlusconi haters watched Berlusconi’s team Milan thump teams" subsidized by Berlusconi’s government "on Berlusconi’s pay channels, in a league run by Berlusconi’s right-hand man Adriano Galliani, and then watched the highlights on Berlusconi’s free channel." The Premier League, Agnelli says, makes about €2B ($2.61B) a year from TV rights, "about half of that domestic and half foreign." Italian clubs make about €1B ($1.3B), of which almost 90% "is generated inside Italy." Agnelli even envies English advertising boards. Agnelli said, "You are reading messages in Chinese across all Premier League stadiums. ... In football, money determines success. Rather than a final destination for top players, we are now a transit league.” Agnelli said, "Take something as apparently simple as selling replica shirts." British and German fans "flock to buy their team’s new shirt." Agnelli: “In Italy we buy counterfeit shirts. Fake is a problem of this country” (FT, 4/26).