Thursday August 4 2011
Galliani fears demise of calcio

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani is concerned about Italian football's future at club level. "We're like a pizzeria."

Serie A clubs were once a force to be respected in European competition during the 1990s and 2000s, but that is no longer the case.

Italy have now fallen behind England, Spain and Germany in the UEFA club rankings which means that only the top three this term, instead of four, will qualify for the 2012-13 Champions League.

"Thanks to the new stadiums being built for Euro 2016, I predict that the French will also overtake us," the Rossoneri director and former Lega Calcio chief told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We could be competitive with equal factors and situations, but unfortunately that's not the case," he continued.

"Spain has the advantage that they don't have collective TV rights, Germany have overtaken us thanks to the wonderful new stadiums they built for the World Cup in 2006.

"It's like theatres and restaurants. There are beautiful theatres and ugly ones, there are luxury restaurants and then pizzerias.

"But we can't do anything. Without stadiums we can't do anything and without a new law we can't construct new stadiums.

"Even the politicians have understood that, but the design of the law has remained blocked between the two branches of parliament."

Juventus will become the first top-flight Italian club to actually own their own stadium when their new arena opens for 2011-12.

Despite Galliani's pessimistic overall look of the future, he did add that he hopes his Milan could get Italy back on the right track this term.

"We've become outsiders but there are always surprises in the Champions League," he noted.

"Look at Schalke last year, they got to the semi-finals. I hope Milan can be the next surprise."