If you ever wondered why Serie A clubs are such big fans of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play Rules, consider that over the last 17 years the patrons of Italy’s biggest clubs have ‘invested” €2.5 billion in Italian football, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Serie A’s owners have to view FFP as a way to stop themselves from the reckless spending that has driven Italian football for almost two decades.
What amazes me about owners of clubs, is that when they assume control, they forget the most basic business rules that made them successful in the first place. Serie A clubs lost a mouth-watering €285 billion in 2010-11). These are not investments, these are rich owners who have been spending money with no regardes as to where it is coming from, and the net result is a football league that has slipped to fourth in Europe over the last decade.
So who has been spending all this money?
- Silvio Berlusconi: €600 million on AC Milan
- Massimo Moratti: €1.160 billion on Inter Milan
- Agnelli Family: €214 million on Juventus
- Riccardo Garrone: €181 million on Sampdoria
- Andrea Della Valle: €165 million on Fiorentina
- Enrico Preziosi: €64 million at Genoa
- Massimo Zamparini: €59 million at Palermo
All these clubs have lived beyond their means for so long that it is extremely difficult for them to cut back on their spending and live within a budget. That is why we saw the bloodletting at Inter and AC Milan this summer as both teams looked to slash their payroll of highly paid veteran players.
In the long-run we will probably see a reduction in the amount of wages that Serie A clubs can pay compared to the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Man United etc, and I wonder if that will result in an exodus of the best Italian players to other leagues? Historically, the best Italian players have stayed and played in Serie A, but the reckless spending by the patrons of Italian football over the last two decades might change that.