The Euro, « a heritage » to rekindle « passion » after the pandemic, hopes Gravina

Q: As the Nazionale returns to the field on Thursday, what do you remember from the coronation of the Euro?

A: « The great result of this Euro is obviously of a sporting nature, with the second continental title in the history of Italian football, the fruit of play, character and team spirit, but also of a logistical nature with 50,000 people welcomed to the Stadio Olimpico in complete safety (accumulated during the four matches in Rome, editor’s note). It is in terms of heritage in terms of interest, passion and economic benefit not to be wasted, on which to invest to make everything grow Italian football. « 

Q: What is the goal for the 2022 World Cup?

A: « Above all, we have to qualify. The victory at Wembley should not make us forget that at the end of 2017 we missed this target, ushering in the darkest period in our contemporary history. The reconstruction project has already brought about important results, but we have to continue this work because we want to arrive in Qatar among the favorites. « 

Q: According to a recent inventory, Italian football has lost nearly a quarter of its players since the start of the pandemic (245,000 fewer players between June 2019 and March 2021, to reach around 820,000). Did you expect such an impact?

A: « No, we didn’t expect such a loss. They may have been interested in other sports, but the point is that they have moved away from football. We will try to interest again these young people. And bringing back the passion depends in particular on the results. In this respect, the good performances of the national team are an important element. « 

Q: The impact has also been economic with more than a billion in revenue for Italian professional football. Do the departures of Ronaldo, Lukaku and Donnarumma testify to a weakening of Serie A?

A: « The crisis generated by the pandemic will be an opportunity to invest mainly in training and to make more use of the young people who can be selected in our national teams. Some great champions have left, but football remains a team sport and some coaches express themselves better. their qualities when they do not rely only on individualities. In this sense, the Nazionale is an example, with players who put themselves at the service of the game and show that they know how to play together. « 

Q: What are the remedies for the clubs’ economic problems?

A: « The Federation is doing its part, by adopting rules that encourage clubs to be more prudent than what has been done in the past. To combat the continued indebtedness of clubs, we have approved a standard imposing a ceiling for recruit on the transfer window, preventing clubs from spending more than their budget for the previous season, except in the event of a capital increase.The Super League project (carried by a few rich clubs to increase their resources, editor’s note) is the wrong answer to a real problem: to make European football ever more competitive, we need to create more stability. But increasing income is not the only solution, the challenge is rather to contain costs. I hope for a discussion deepening between UEFA, clubs and national federations to make football more sustainable. « 

Q: Italian stadiums are currently limited to a 50% gauge. When will it be possible to see them filled again?

A: « It depends on the evolution of the cases of Covid-19. As during the Euro, seeing the tifosi in the league was magnificent. Their passion was very lacking, but we must manage this phase as well as possible so as not to have to go back: entry controls must be very strict and we must also manage behavior in each sector of the stadium as well as possible. « 

(Interview by Anthony LUCAS)

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