Umberto Gandini – Organising Director, AC Milan – Featured Profile with iSC

April 20, 2011

Umberto Gandini, generic Organising Director at AC Milan and Vice-Chairman of the European Clubs Association (ECA), stuff has taken part in an exclusive Featured Profile interview with iSportconnect.

Mr Gandini spoke in detail of his role at the European Clubs Association (ECA), doctor and explained that the mission of the body was to “give club football its proper position into the football family.” He confirmed that historically “the involvement of club football into the governing bodies has always been very poor” and this was something that the ECA hopes to address.

Umberto spoke of the importance of the change in Presidency at UEFA when Michel Platini was elected, stating: “He (Platini) came into UEFA’s presidency with a clear design of bringing the football families together,” adding “he was pivotal in convincing the major clubs to renounce their positions by joining the family and creating the ECA, in reality, merging the UEFA European Club Forum and the G14 into this new organisation.”

Gandini said that the ECA’s communication and relationship with UEFA was naturally and easier one to manage than that with FIFA, claiming: “The problem lies within the fact that the majority of our issues, such as the release of players, the international calendar and transfer regulations are all FIFA matters. It is a more difficult route to obtain access to FIFA, especially because FIFA represents all confederations, and the other confederations have not developed in the same way that UEFA has.”

Umberto confirmed that Italian soccer has suffered this season due to poor results on the pitch in European competitions, saying it had been “been highly detrimental to the status of Italian football within the European scenario.” However, he spoke of his club, AC Milan’s successes in the league thus far and confirmed that qualifying for the Champions League is of paramount importance, claiming: “It’s fundamental,” and adding: “The difference between the Europa League and the UCL is still huge. Without Champions League revenues, the club would be forced to resize its objectives in the long run.” He also revealed that although the ability to break into the emerging Middle Eastern market in sport was an incentive behind the latest sponsorship deal with Emirates, the main priority was to remain associated with top brands.

Mr Gandini spoke of the amount of FIFA’s total revenue from the World Cup afforded to the clubs whose player’s were represented at the tournament, less than 1.5%, saying the figure was “absolutely ridiculous”. He confirmed that the ECA is still strongly pursuing the fact that, “the clubs were the only part of the football family that were not going to get any benefit from the World Cup or the confederation tournaments.” He claimed that the agreement to compensate the clubs was a “starting point” but one that was “no longer enough”, revealing that: “players are going to the European Championships at 5,000 euros per day, and players going to the World Cup for 1,400 dollars per day!”

He also talked of the need to find a better solution to the current international calendar when asked as to whether the notion of friendly international fixtures should be scrapped and stated that, expecting players to be fit and able to compete in the Euro 2012 Championships and the Olympic Games just a month later was “nonsense”.

Umberto had the final word on his association with iSportconnect and the incentives it brings, stating: “It’s a great platform that offers the opportunity to be in touch with the leaders, and also the experts and the professionals of the Sport Industry, and to have the opportunity to get instant access to potential business partners. I think it’s a great concept. It gives you the possibility to follow the trends and best practise in Sport.”

Read the full article here –

Editors Note:

Umberto Gandini is the organising Director of Italian Football Club AC Milan. Having obtained his degree in law, he started his career in the sports industry as a consultant for TV rights for the sports programme at RTI (now Mediaset Group). For more than 17 years, he has been working for AC Milan. In his current position, he is responsible for all first-team activities as well as negotiation of TV and New Media rights. He is a member of the Professional Football Strategy Council of UEFA and the FIFA Club Committee and he is First Vice-Chairman of ECA European Club Association.