Napoli CEO Aurelio de Laurentiis has proposed some changes to the Italian game and they range from changes in the league calendar and stadium organisation to recruitment.
De Laurentiis has gone from buying the Partenopei for only €37 million when they were in the third division to seeing them become the champions of Italy this season. He has made sure that the club’s recruitment has made them stand out in the Serie A, while giving Napoli a real identity on and off the pitch.
The club CEO spoke to La Repubblica recently and he proposed some changes to the game, starting with stadium organisation in Italian football. He believes that stadiums in Italy be used for wedding celebrations and first communions.
“First of all, we have a huge problem with the stadiums – with a few rare exceptions, they are obsolete. The match is difficult to see, there is an athletics track, like in Naples or Rome. And then, do we want to bring families there? Do we want to make it so that we can stay in the stadium all day to have fun, to eat? I would celebrate weddings and first communions in the stadium.
“Perhaps the Church could be disturbed, but it would be enough to set up a blessed altar, we did it on retreat in Dimaro. How many times did Cardinal Sepe come to officiate mass and no one was ever scandalized? The football field is underestimated and underused, it could produce benefits on turnover.”
De Laurentiis also gave his views about how to tackle piracy, saying: “And then we have the virtual stadium. We must be able to win back young people. And fight piracy, which has killed us. In eight years, it has brought us from the 4 million and 300 thousand subscribers that we had to one million and 900 thousand. I hope that [Georgia] Meloni will be able to pass the new law against piracy without ifs and buts, without conditioning by the large groups who most likely would like instead the go-ahead on the web without any imposition or blockage.”
He also spoke about the calendars in football, putting forward the idea of a reformed calendar in the European game and calling on FIFA and UEFA to do just that.
“FIFA and UEFA operate in a dominant position and nobody tells them anything. They should sit at the table with us and be respectful of our leagues, which for the fans come before European cups and national teams. I have players who come and go from South America or Asia in 48 hours and then have to play with us the next day. Madness.”
On the idea of starting leagues in the summer, he said: “Also, absolutely yes. But the tournaments are already starting in August, some even in July. And the weather is shifting, let’s evaluate this too.”
De Laurentiis also revealed that he wants to have more American and Asian players in the team, having been impressed by Kim Min-Jae this season.
“I’d like to have an American, because in America, even if the championship isn’t worth much, there are great players who shine in the national team. And then a Japanese, while already having a Korean, since there’s a great development of our football in the East and there are new entries to consider. But I wouldn’t want to send any of our players away.”
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN