European football’s gilded elite assembling for Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev will be more abuzz with intrigue than normal after Uefa’s public slapdown of the Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s effort to railroad through a new format for the Club World Cup. Increasingly influential in the thick of it will be Andrea Agnelli, fourth-generation scion of the famed Fiat- and Juventus-founding dynasty, chairman of Juve since 2010 and, since September, of the powerful European Club Association (ECA).
Trim in his grey pinstripe suit, talking assuredly at the Guardian offices this week while in London for a board meeting of Fiat Chrysler – turnover €111bn last year – the 42-year-old Agnelli came to bury Infantino’s grand plan. But, as he explains, it becomes clear that he sees this row as a mere squall in a six-year quest towards his own vision, which many in football may find more challenging, its ambition no less than “a big project in reshaping European football”.
His proposed reordering is clearly thought out already: for the top clubs to play more European prestige games – and make more money – by expanding the Champions League format. He argues the European elite should http://www.officialoriolesshop.com/authentic-23-joey-rickard-jersey.html play fewer games in their national leagues, which should reduce the number of clubs, even divisions.
This prospect Womens Paul Worrilow Jersey has barely been raised in England, where the so-called big six clubs are more immediately trying to secure a greater share of their own league’s international-TV millions. But Agnelli repeatedly emphasises that top Premier League Andrew Billings Authentic Jersey teams are involved in the discussions.
“We all want more international [European] games and less domestic, combined with an overall reduction of games because we don’t want to go over a certain number. And we said: ‘Let’s come up with a proposal.’”
Agnelli suggests the expansion should keep 32 clubs qualifying for the Champions League, but have four Marcus Mariota Jersey groups of eight teams in the opening stage instead of eight of four. That would mean each club plays at least 14 matches, eight more than the current six. Asked what this http://www.officialmarlinshop.com/authentic-31-jeff-locke-jersey.html will mean for national leagues, Agnelli appears comfortable with them being further undermined.
“You could say that whoever participates [in the expanded Champions League] has to play in the national league with six U21 or U23 players,” he suggests, but adds the qualifier: “But it’s brainstorming because there isn’t a project at the moment.”
There is the suspicion that European clubs such as Juventus might see such expansion of the Champions League as a way to bridge the financial gap with the Premier League, whose £8.4bn 2016‑19 http://www.packersfootballofficialshop.com/authentic-damarious-randall-jersey.html TV deal dwarfs them all. Juventus are exceptional in Serie A http://www.newyorkrangersofficialonline.com/Adidas-Martin-St-Louis-Jersey for having modernised – opening the Allianz Stadium in 2011 – and dramatically improved their football and financial performances – revenues last year were €563m, up 45% – since Agnelli took over in 2010 following the 2006 Calciopoli scandal. This season’s scudetto is the club’s seventh in a row, as Serie A becomes, like most European leagues, much less competitive.
Agnelli argues that other Italian clubs must improve their “competences” and a new chief executive, shortly to be appointed, must overhaul the domestic league’s fortunes. “[In] Serie A, the product has come to one of its lowest moments,” he says.
The Agnellis still own 64% of Juventus, which was taken over in 1923 by Andrea’s grandfather, Edoardo, primarily as a bonding experience for Fiat employees in Turin. Andrea describes the family’s Travis Dermott Jersey attachment as “first and foremost pure passion”, with an emphasis on a core of Italian players, captained until his final game for the club this month by the goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon, who is godfather to Agnelli’s one-year-old daughter, Livia.
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