Friday October 25 2013
Agnelli: Calcio at a standstill

Juventus President Andrea Agnelli has again warned that his club can only reach the very top if Italian football allows it to.

Although the Old Lady are making strides on and off the pitch, Agnelli told a shareholders’ meeting on Friday that the game on the peninsula needs reform.

“The balance sheet put forward to this board for approval today sees a record turnover and reunites Juventus with its past,” he stated.

“We were already ahead of schedule on the pitch, bringing home the 2011/12 Scudetto, but the budget sheet you have in front of you is particularly significant because it marks a substantial move towards balancing the books, whilst maintaining results on the field with our second consecutive Scudetto and Super Cup.

“With the help of you shareholders, Exor and my cousin John [Elkann] first and foremost, this management has been able to win four trophies in just three years, rebuilding the club's heritage which was previously under serious threat, and laying the foundations for the future development of Juventus.

"But that's not enough.

“Victories and records end up in annals and on lists. Our task is to build the future. Today's turnover puts Juventus in the world's top ten. The previous record put the club among the top three in the world. That's a fact. We've lost a lot of ground over the last 10 years.

“A year on from our last meeting, the situation in Italian football is unchanged. I wrote this in a recent letter to you and I reaffirm it today. The loss of the system's competitiveness is so patently obvious that only the reckless could ignore it.

“Juventus will only be able to maintain its competitiveness on the pitch internationally and remain balanced financially if the system's income allows the club to fully achieve its potential.

“This is not an excuse. It's a concerned appeal to react and not to consider the decline as inevitable. This might sound like rhetoric but the future really is in our hands.

“It's not easy in a context like Italy, which over a long period has established a deep-rooted culture of power and a precarious culture in terms of government. In fact, it's very difficult.

“However, we must ask how politics can look after the fate of the motor of Italian football, namely Serie A, when Italian football shows on a daily basis that it knows neither how to progress nor find the ability to govern its only sector in an adequate fashion?

“Serie A, and Italian football as a whole, must go back to being a credible and reliable counterpart for everyone, from the policy makers to the fans, from the world of businesses to the now crucial world of television broadcasters.”

He added: “Lega Serie A needs to have the courage to take its own fate into its hands, must find a new way of having dialogue with sporting institutions and policy makers, must tackle problems with greater calm and a willingness to create a consensus in and around itself.

“Without this, we will continue to have half-empty stadiums in disrepair, components of the same federation pursuing specific goals, not systemic ones, inadequate protection of our brands against abuses and counterfeiting, and bizarre laws which are created to limit violence, but only succeed in restricting access for fans and football lovers.”

Turning to matters on the pitch, Agnelli underlined how difficult a third successive title would be for the Old Lady.

“Since 2010 Juventus has continued to attract new talent both on and off the field. They have all bought into the cause, they have all put their skills at the service of a shared project, and they all want to push on from here.

“That goes for Fabio Paratici, Pavel Nedved, Antonio Conte and the lads who know they have a unique opportunity to make Bianconeri history by clinching a third consecutive Scudetto crown – an extremely difficult achievement. Because winning is never easy and it requires strenuous efforts from everyone. Winning again is even more difficult.

“The same goes for Beppe Marotta, Aldo Mazzia and the entire management staff, as well as the employees who run the club on a daily basis, constantly coming up with fresh ideas in a stimulating environment, albeit one under constant public scrutiny.

“But we're not stopping here. We're determined to find new resources, new enthusiasm and new ideas to offer Italian football the help it urgently needs.”

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