As president of the European Club Association, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli reiterated his push to change the setup of the continental competitions in the opening speech of the 25th assembly of the teams’ body. Lamenting the financial state of the industry and the lack of interest from younger fans, the executive offered his vision to get out of the dire situation.
“We still do not have fans on the stands, the players are pushed beyond their physical limits because of a very packed schedule. Football lost between €6.5B and €8.5B over the last two seasons due to the pandemic. The top 20 clubs had a €1.1B deficit in the 2019/2020 campaign. The crisis is weighing on everybody.”
“Football, economics and politics are at a crossroad. We must seize this opportunity and act, otherwise we risk to implode. There is potential for a bright future. Some major financial players are looking to invest: they are not interested in doing charity, they want profits. If we change, we can consider these opportunities.”
Agnelli concluded: “We must prioritize the fans because the current system is not built for modern supporters. Youngsters follow football in different ways, they no longer stick to one team but they like single players. Big-ticket matches are diluted by noncompetitive games in domestic leagues that make the viewers lose interest. We can not take the fans for granted and we must offer them the best possible competition, otherwise we might lose them.”
The ECA will examine the rumored new Champions League format with a super-sized first stage that could be installed starting from 2024.