Leaders Sport Summit 2014 Day Two Roundup – Featuring FFP, AS Roma & the Garcia Report

By iSportconnect | October 10, 2014

By Christian Radnedge

UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino (pictured) praised Financial Fair Play and said that it is changing the behaviour of football clubs across Europe.

Infantino was speaking on the second day of the Leaders Sport Summit at Stamford Bridge, London.

Financial Fair Play was approved and enacted by European football’s governing body in 2011. In the first phase however, a number of clubs have fallen foul of the regulations.

Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain were the highest profile teams to be punished this year. Both clubs were fined and had their squads for the UEFA Champions League reduced.

However, Infantino insisted it was making a difference.

“It is working, financial fair play has really taken hold and the biggest success of it is that it is really in the head of everyone involved in football; every player, every manager, every coach, every agent” he said.

“Everyone knows ‘I cannot do what I want because there is financial fair play’ – their behaviour is modified and we see the result of this in the figures.”

Infantino gave three examples to the assembled delegates of how FFP was working:

– An 85 per cent reduction in overdue payments from clubs involved in European competitions.

– Aggregate losses for clubs has more than halved from 1.7billion Euros in 2011 to 800million in 2013.

– Finally, this year for the first time, player wages increased less than the rate of revenues generated. “In 2009 wages went up 14 per cent and revenues by 3 per cent. This year wages went up by 4 per cent and revenues by 7 per cent” he said.

Roma new stadium to open in 2017, says owner

Roma owner James Pallotta is highly hopeful of the club’s new stadium being completed on time for the start of the 2017-18 Serie A season.

The American took over the club in 2011 and revealed that plans for the new venue began almost as soon as they arrived in Rome.

“It’s a great piece of land,” Pallotta said. “It’s 15 minutes from airport, 15 minutes from the Vatican, it’s on the river and inside the ring road. We started the design phase two and half years ago. We were working on it before approval process, and it was approved six weeks ago – hopefully we’ll break ground on May 1.

“It’s needed badly. We’re not sharing it with anybody, that’s just not happening… It’s going to be a 60,000 seat stadium under new UEFA guidelines. College football games have already asked us if they can play there.

“We want to talk to the NFL, the NBA to maybe play a weekend game there.”

While Roma’s plans are in full flow, the same cannot be said for Internazionale. Erick Thohir was alongside Pallotta at Leaders and admitted that discussions were still ongoing about what course of action to take with the San Siro, the ground they currently share as tenants with AC Milan.

Thohir was adamant that Inter need to own their own stadium to compete financially with their rivals.

“At Inter we want to have our own stadium but how many seats we can fill up? How many concerts can we fill up?” he said.

“We have discussions with AC Milan to understand what they want to do with the stadium. Big clubs such as Inter want to own their stadiums. But building a stadium is not enough – you need to understand what business itself is inside the stadium.”

Coca Cola want Garcia report published

A leading official FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola admitted that the company is “concerned” about being tainted with a possible negative image of FIFA.

World football’s governing body has come in for intense criticism and scrutiny over the past few years, particularly over their decision to award the hosting rights of the 2022 World Cup to the nation of Qatar which has been accused of numerous counts of human rights abuses.

Recently, FIFA has also endured attacks for not publishing the Michael Garcia report into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Corruption allegations have swirled around the organisation headed by president Sepp Blatter, and Coca-Cola’s director of Football Management, Amber Steele, admitted at the Leaders Summit that the allegations were brought to the table.

“Anytime with the FIFA World Cup, or FIFA, there is any tainting of the event, we’re concerned about it,” she said.

“We have had all kinds of conversations with FIFA. We see them as our partner; we talk to each other about the good and the bad.”