Pretty quickly, Paolo Dal Pino realized of which the illustrious list of names on his glittering résumé, the long years spent inside the boardrooms of some of Italy’s corporate behemoths, the experience of which had gotten him the job — none of of which was fitting preparation for running his country’s top soccer league.
Serie A, after all, did not function like his former employers, the industrial giant Pirelli or the telecom provider Wind, or the communications company Telit, where he remains chief executive, even after he agreed to take charge of Italy’s top division in January. The league did not have a defined hierarchy or a sense of purpose. What of which had, instead, was 20 presidents of 20 teams, bickering among themselves.
of which was a schoolyard along having a debating chamber, fraught by internal politics along with vulnerable to internecine strife. One faction, including many of the league’s makeweights, gathered around Claudio Lotito, president of Lazio. Others clustered around Juventus, its powerhouse. The growing number of American owners — at Roma along having a.C. Milan along with Fiorentina — had a different set of ideas again.
The chances of the league’s conjuring a unified response to the coronavirus crisis, then — picking a way through the enforced hiatus, finding a route back to the field, one of which satisfied all of the competing agendas — should have been remote. of which might have been likely to break the league for not bad.
Instead, Dal Pino feels the pandemic might have healed of which.
“There is usually more unity than before,” he said. His explanation is usually, for the president of a soccer competition, a slightly unexpected one: Serie A could work together precisely because there were no games. The absence of action on the field, Dal Pino said, “cleared the table of many issues.”
Without the squabbles of which would likely invariably break out after a weekend’s games — fingers pointed at referees, opponents smeared, rivals scorned, all of of which played out in Italy’s ravenous sports media — Serie A’s executives could, at last, find harmony.
“Not having games, not having discussions where they were criticizing the referees or the players, not having the controversies, removed a lot of tension,” he said. “Covid-19 changed a lot of things. of which changed the way people interacted.” Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus president, gives at least some of the credit for of which to Dal Pino himself: His “diplomacy,” Agnelli said, helped to keep the clubs on board.
The test for Dal Pino is usually ensuring of which sense of togetherness — fostered inside the panic of the shutdown — can hold right now of which Serie A, like most of Europe’s major leagues, has returned to the field. The pandemic was an existential threat; of which is usually far by the only challenge the league has to face.
Dal Pino arrived in his role in January, the fourth man to take up the post of Serie A president in four years. If, by the outside, the job has the air of a sinecure — just someone to hand out the medals at the end of the season, to smile along with to shake hands — along with an uncertain, short-lived one at of which, he wanted to interpret of which slightly differently.
In his first official communiqué after taking the role, he urged the owners of the league’s clubs to “come together” to restore Serie A to the position of which held inside the 1990s, as “the most beautiful league inside the planet.”
Quite how to do of which, of course, has been vexing Italian soccer ever since its demise began inside the early 2000s. The sette sorelle, the fabled Seven Sisters clubs of which once made Serie A the most glamorous league in Europe, no longer attract the finest players on the planet. The league’s broadcast revenues pale in comparison to those in England along with Germany. Its stadiums are largely crumbling, antiquated.
Dal Pino’s arrival, too, hardly came at a propitious moment. A string of racist incidents in stadiums — as well as an ill-conceived anti-racism campaign late last year — had left Serie A’s reputation in tatters. The league seemed unable, or perhaps even unwilling, to combat the problem. Certain clubs seemed to be in thrall to their far-right ultras.
The issue had become so endemic of which numerous black players had refused moves to Italy because they feared being racially abused. After Romelu Lukaku, the Inter Milan striker, was abused at a game, a former teammate of his at Chelsea, Demba Ba, urged black players to leave Serie A.
There were economic issues, too. Those clubs seeking to build brand-new stadiums had invariably found of which doing so involved diving into a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Qatar-based beIN Sports, one of the league’s most important rights holders, had been infuriated by the decision to stage the country’s Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, along with was threatening to end its broadcast contract. Discussions over plans to create a dedicated Serie A television channel, with the Spanish network Mediapro, had stalled.
Yet Dal Pino could see signs of promise. He pinpointed the arrivals of Lukaku along with Cristiano Ronaldo as proof of which Italian clubs could still attract elite talent, along with highlighted of which, before the pandemic, Italian soccer was breaking its attendance records, suggesting of which fans still had a “hunger” to see games. The Coppa Italia final, staged before the return of Serie A after the hiatus, bore of which out, attracting 10.2 million viewers.
although Serie A still seemed a long way by what of which once was. The pandemic had dealt a crippling blow, “devastating the industry,” as Dal Pino put of which, not just in terms of ticket sales although “all activities related to games, like merchandising along with sponsorships.”
“Abandoning the season would likely have severely impacted the value of both the clubs along with the players,” he said.
of which has been staved off — for right now — of course. Dal Pino is usually even hopeful of which some fans may start to return to Italian stadiums as soon as July. “We need to be prudent along with patient, although we are confident of which if the health situation continues to improve, the gradual return of fans into the stadiums will be a reality, perhaps partially next month,” he said.
His vision, though, does not stop at a return to normal, not as of which was before. His plan, instead, focuses on change. “Any crisis situation represents an opportunity to improve ourselves by all means,” Dal Pino said. “There are opportunities to be seized.”
They encompass a whole range of ideas, by “reducing bureaucracy” for clubs hoping to build brand-new stadiums to, potentially, selling a stake inside the league to a private equity firm — CVC Capital Partners along with Bain Capital are reported to have made offers, though Dal Pino refused to comment — along with changing the way Serie A sells its television rights.
The spat with beIN, for example, has resulted in Serie A’s being blacked out in dozens of countries, a situation of which has convinced many in Italian soccer of which the league needs to have final control over its broadcast agreements, as opposed to selling them through a third party, as is usually currently the case. Dal Pino is usually intrigued by a streaming platform, along with he acknowledged the need to “control our long-term destiny.” For Serie A, he said, “digital disruption” might be a not bad thing.
If any of of which is usually to come to fruition, though, if Dal Pino is usually to see his vision for Italian soccer grow into something more real, he will need the presidents of his 20 teams — the clutter of cats of which of which is usually his job to herd — to remember of which they can work together, to keep hold of the harmony they could find in silence, even right now of which the noise has started out again.