Joseph Blatter met with Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio president Abete, and with Demetrio Albertini, Carlo Tavecchio and Antonio Matarrese in Rome, yesterday. He remarked that they spoke about Italy’s national team’s performance, which, he added “is doing well”.
“New investors have entered the Italian market as it has already happened in other countries. I read that a Chinese investor may be interested in AS Roma. This may be a positive or not. In England this model has worked, but not for the national team” he told Tuttomercatoweb.
Comments that exemplify the shallow depth of knowledge and interest in the Italian league by the FIFA president. For one, what is the “theory” by which a relationship would exist between foreign ownership and national team performance? The English Premier League has chronically had a 60/40 split between foreign and domestic players. Once foreign owners penetrated the English market, they continued to acquire domestic and foreign players in the same mix as their predecessors and the rest of the league. Suffice to say, England is not a good proxy for Serie A.
Perhaps one could have remarked about AS Roma’s behaviour since the American takeover. Hanging on to De Rossi, selling foreigners like Marquinho, and giving the opportunity to young talent like Florenzi to flourish are some of the moves that come immediately to mind.
The truth is, Italian football fans and management alike have been calling for reforms in Italian football, as they have witnessed a drop in its UEFA coefficient (for European club competitions), and in its revenues from TV, merchandising and stadium attendance.
Today, Blatter visited Pope Francis, and gave the Pontifice a jersey featuring the number “10” and with “Francesco” written on the back. This may have been the real reason for his Roman visit.