AC Milan chief adds to Italy’s stadium debate

08 Aug 2011

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has become the latest club official to bemoan Italy’s stadia, stating Serie A risks falling further behind the rest of Europe through lack of development.

Galliani’s comments come after Cesena president Igor Campedelli last week called for government action to address the problem of Italy’s decaying stadia. In the wake of failed bids for both UEFA Euro 2012 and 2016, Italy’s football venues have seen little improvement since the country hosted the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Juventus will break new ground for Italian football in September with the opening of its new 41,000-seat stadium, the country’s first privately owned football venue. However, the majority of Serie A teams still have to pay rental fees to city councils for the right to play in their stadia, impacting on their ability to drive matchday revenue.

As a result of recent performances in European competition, Serie A has fallen behind England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s 1.Bundesliga in the UEFA co-efficients. Galliani expects France’s Ligue 1 to overtake Serie A in the coming years and insists the clubs “can’t do anything” to prevent it due to laws surrounding the development of new stadia. “Thanks to the new stadiums being built for Euro 2016, I predict that the French will also overtake us,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We could be competitive with equal factors and situations, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

“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.”