«Football risks failing. Stadiums open for all fans who have the green pass »- Corriere.it

from Monica Colombo

The president of Genoa: “The restrictions on the public kill the clubs”

“Without an audience in the stadiums and forms of help from the government, Chievo may not be an isolated case. The financial statements of many companies are at risk ». The cry of pain is from the president of Genoa, Enrico Preziosi, which referring to the exclusion from Serie B of the Venetian club, collapsed under a mountain of debts, indicates a gloomy landscape for Italian football. The economic crisis, a consequence of Covid, has already produced losses of 1 billion and 200 million, a figure destined to grow with the prospect of another season with semi-empty stands.

President, according to the government decree, access to the stadiums is guaranteed for 50 percent of the capacity. Why does the standard not satisfy you?
“It’s simple to explain: after a year and a half of lost box office income, the new rule now requires interpersonal distancing of one meter. In practice, in almost all the stadiums in Italy we would be forced, if the legislation were confirmed, to occupy one seat out of every four, effectively opening the facilities for 25 percent of the capacity. With these impositions, starting the season ticket campaign or selling hospitality packages is impossible. Then I also have the regret of having just invested large sums to modernize Marassi ».

Can occupying the checkerboard seats be a solution?
«Let’s say that at least with that formula, the basis of the talks between the Lega and the FIGC with the Government, 50 percent of the capacity would be guaranteed. But I go further and ask myself: why in indoor bars and restaurants you can enter with the green pass without limitations and in a stadium, outdoors, right? We drive the passion of 38 million people: football can be a vehicle for convincing no vaxes. Sometimes I get a bad suspicion ».

«I have the feeling that some people perceive the presidents of football clubs as rich fools. The cliché is “they complain but then they sign millionaire contracts”. But to those who have this belief I would like to explain that for each agreement signed, half of the salaries agreed to the players is poured into the state coffers in the form of contributions. Football clubs are companies and should be treated as such. So I wonder how it is possible that the government, which limits my income with the rules on the public in stadiums, then demands the same tax deductions from football as before the pandemic ».

What do you expect?
“Given that my thoughts are shared by all the presidents, both of medium-small and large companies, since we have all suffered losses – those of Genoa amount to 34 million -, I hope that a table will be opened with the Executive to find a solution. Football is made up of presidents who have put billions into the system, also allowing the state to benefit from it. Ours is a partnership. The more I work, the more I earn, the more I inject money into the state coffers. But to survive we need if not refreshments, at least installments or tax deferrals, otherwise the system implodes. When the money runs out, it ends for everyone, including the lower leagues and other sports: let’s not forget that Serie A feeds the entire Italian sports movement ».

Are you in favor of the mandatory vaccine for players, ventilated by Gravina?
“In a contact sport the vaccine gives greater safety, but since it cannot be imposed by law I believe that the suggestion of the federal president should be understood more as an invitation to common sense.”

On Monday you will meet again in the Lega assembly. Is the start of the championship at risk?
“If the lack of dialogue with the government continues, we will have to think of a solution. In that case we should stop and think about what to do. Our requests cannot be ignored but I am confident that through a negotiation table we will reach a point of understanding with the Executive ».

July 28, 2021 (change July 28, 2021 | 23:10)

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