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  16/08/2011: Disamore
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It was a beautiful day in Rome. The windows were open and we could here the city buzzing beneath us.The lawyer asked us what we wanted. We said we wrote a book about Il Calcio, and the system surrounding it. The lawyer sighed.
- Il sistema di calcio?
We nodded.
The lawyer bursted out laughing.
- Buona fortuna.

What most people don't understand, even those living in Italy, is that to understand the way of the italian football, you have to understand Italy itself. Remember that Machiavelli once lived here.

A friend of mine studied social culture at the university in Rome a few years ago. One of her first assignments was to visit a sunday game.
- After that you will understand us better, her teacher said.

I have investigated Italian football for more than 15 years and have realised a few things during the way. Most of all, how the structure of the game is tightly tied to the country itself. It may look like a good thing from the outside, but it's not.

Change. This is the word that both ultras, presidents, journalists, politicians, even presidents, hate.Why? Niccolà Machiavelli wrote a book about power. Nowadays, football is creating power in Italy, just look who's running the country.And change means change of power.

Take a look at Italy today. A country in debt, unemployment, organized crime. Many experts are today questioning why Italy still is part of the G8. Now take a look at Italian football. Look at the arenas, the mentality of presidents, of fans, of media. It looks a bit old and runned down in comparison to the rest of europe, doesn't it? If you were able to travel back in time, say to 1990 and have the same look, things sure would look different. A buzzling economy, world cup, teams like Milan, Juve, Inter and even Napoli roaming the fields around Europe.

And now? The truth is that Italy as well as its football is falling behind. Why? In my opinion because of the lack of change. What the clubs in England, Spain and the rest of Europe has done is to adapt. To change.

Now, that might be a change most fans dislike. Because just as everyone else, the fans would like it as it were when they were young. But things weren't better in the old days. Thats a myth. It always is. Things can only BE better. And to be that things need to change.

But while Italian football looks like its changing, the country is not.The truth is that is more a charade than a real change.Look at the people sitting in FIGC. The people sitting in Lega. The people running the clubs. The people negotiating Tv-rights, etc, etc.

Who are they? They are the same people as always. People with power. And once you have power, you hold on to it firmly, especially in this country. Ask yourself: do you trust them? Well what are you going to do?

Somehow we, the most precious assets of the clubs, the fans, will have to change. Not by abuse. Not by silly rants. But by simply saying that this has gone far enough. We love our colours. And for the colours to progress, change will have to come.

Il calcio moderno doesn't need to be boring. Again, who are the most precious assets of a club? The fans. We. They can build new arenas. They can buy big players. But if no one goes to the arena, if no one want to pay the tv-fees because they don't believe in it anymore, it doesn't matter.

The reason Calcio exists is because of us. Let's not forget that. Instead of abusing presidents, lets ask them were the money is coming from. Demand transparency.
Demand to be taken seriously by acting seriously.

Ask yourself, why don't anyone in italy trust a politician? Because of corruption? Now ask yourself, do you trust a club president instead? Why? Because in Calcio, corruption is ok? With that view, why should anyone take YOU seriously?

You might think after reading this that I hate Italy and Italian football.
Sometimes I wish i did. But I don't. I love it so much. I love the passion, the people discussing the game in bars, the roar of the crowds. But I more and more often get the same feeling as he lawyer we met in Rome. He didn't go the the arena anymore.
- I get the feeling that I have been cheated, he said.
I understand him.
It's like the title of our book: Disamore.

Mats Lerneby
freelancejournalist, author, laziale, Sweden.
 
 
  Comments
 
 
Ed 8/17/2011 11:38:13 PM
Interesting read - the slightly chaotic charm of Calcio will always be part of it's romance and appeal. I do agree that times are changing fast and politics, inertia and corruption have held back the progress of Italian football in relation to the other big European leagues.
 
 
 
 
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