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SBD Global/August 26, 2013/International Football

Italy's Top Football League, Serie A, Falling Behind Europe's Football Elite

AS Livorno Calcio keeper Francesco Bardi in action during the Serie A match against AS Roma Sunday.
The Italian Serie A "returns this week but the customary enthusiasm for a new season is tinged with another bout of soul-searching in Italy," according to Glenn Moore of the London INDEPENDENT. Not only "is the game still bedevilled with racist outbreaks on the terraces, and the continuing legacy of match-fixing scandals, there is a sense that Serie A is falling behind." Italian football "once dominated Europe," but Inter Milan’s Champions League success in '10 "now looks a blip." The leading clubs in La Liga and the Premier League "overtook their Serie A counterparts some years ago in terms of transfer muscle, but now the Bundesliga has moved ahead together with the lavishly-funded Ligue 1 clubs Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain." The latter "was evident in the transfer market this summer with Edison Cavani becoming the 10th Serie A player to join PSG in the last two years." Monaco blew away all opposition, including Italian, with its €60M ($80M) purchase of Radamel Falcao. To Inter Milan Owner Massimo Moratti "the solution is external investment." The petro-baron, who estimates he has sunk €1.5B ($2B) into the club in the last two decades, "has been courting Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir." If he sells, and a similar deal involving Chinese purchasers last season fell through, Inter would follow U.S.-owned Roma "in moving into foreign control." Moratti said that "there is no alternative." Moratti: "Today we find ourselves incapable of generating worldwide interest . We need to create a solid foreign market." Only Juventus has "spent big." Moratti mentioned Serie A’s "rundown stadia," which come as a shock to English visitors, but Juventus is an exception. La Vecchia Signora has a new ground which, unlike most Italian clubs, it owns. That "helps generate income though its sub-50,000 capacity, for the biggest club in Italy, is telling" (INDEPENDENT, 8/24).
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