Leaders In Sport: Juventus President Says Serie A Needs To Boost Economics
Top-flight Italian football is a “transit destination” which is struggling to hold on to its top talent, according to the withering assessment of Juventus President Andrea Agnelli on the second day of the Leaders in Sport Summit in Chelsea. Agnelli said, “If you look at what Serie A used to represent -- international footballers wanted to come to Serie A. Italy is no longer a final decision but a transit destination.” Agnelli said the club -- one of the most famous in the world and winner of the last two Serie A titles -- would find it difficult to hold onto its top talent, such as French int'l Paul Pogba, should a big offer come in for him. Pogba has thrived in the Italian league since he moved from ManU in the summer of '12. Agnelli: “In a few years time if we get a massive offer for one of the best talents we got today, Pogba, will we be able to retain him? I don’t know. I don’t think at the moment we have the strength to retain such a player.”
VICTIM OF ECONOMY: Economic factors have hit Italian football hard while rival leagues such as the German Bundesliga and English Premier League have grown in popularity and riches. Agnelli says the key is more new stadiums to be built in Serie A, which will attract bigger crowds and, in the long-term, more broadcasting money. Juventus moved to a smaller 41,000 all-seat stadium at the start of the '11-12 season, which is widely considered to be an improvement on its previous home of Stadio delle Alpi. “We are practically sold out all the time,” said Agnelli, unlike in the previous stadium. But, he said, there needs to be more new football stadiums in Italy. Agnelli: “At the end of the day you can be attractive, but you also need to have the economic strength.”
John Reynolds is a writer in London.