Italian Football Leaders Clash over Playing in Saudi Arabia

The divide at the top of Italian football became manifest over the Supercoppa taking place in Riyadh. The president of the federation, Gabriele Gravina opposes holding the match abroad, as he stated during the unveiling of the new Azzurri kit (via Corriere della Sera).

“It saddens me, even though it stems from to the economic difficulties of our movement. Unfortunately, football in recent years has chosen the venues that guarantee the largest profits. That goes for the World Cup, the Supercoppa, and other events. In Riyadh, only 400 fans out of 58k spectators are Italians. Rome or Milan would have been better locations. My wish is to find an economic balance to cultivate the sport domestically.”

Serie A president Lorenzo Casini retorted with a direct jab.

“What I truly find sad is that Italy didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. I struggle to understand. In 35 editions, the Supercoppa took place abroad 12 times. It started in 1993 in the United States, then in Libya, China, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. La Liga and the NBA also showcase their product all over the world.”

“We are very happy with the enthusiasm that welcome our teams, and I’m surprised by some remarks. We are sorry that the Federation didn’t join us in Riyadh on the day the first trophy of the season is awarded.”

Casini confirmed that Serie A is considering switching to a final-four model for the Supercoppa. However, the big teams are against it because it would add games to an already busy schedule, the publication adds.

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