As one of the great clubs of Italian football, Fiorentina have a long and rich history. Though they are by no means prolific title winners, La Viola have a fantastic name within the Italian sporting world thanks to their presence, their style, and their academy. Add to that they have one of the most recognisable kits in the world, and it is easy to see why so many view Fiorentina as a truly special club side.
However, despite being under ownership that can back the club financially, they simply cannot compete with the biggest clubs in the market. Outspoken club President, Rocco Commisso, has long been one to fight the clubs corner when it comes to how things are done. And in a recent Financial Times Business of Sport summit, the Commisso spoke about how other clubs in Italy – namely Inter and Juventus – do things.
Commisso pointed out that both clubs had managed to defer player wages and payments, and that they should have been punished for doing so. As other Italian clubs cut their cloth accordingly, but Inter and Juve were able to agree deferments to their wage structure with playing staff. Commisso believes this was wrong, and noted: “We don’t have a problem with anybody coming in. We have a problem with people playing by the same rules. There should have been consequences for anybody not meeting these rules.”
The panel also focused on the growth of American ownership within Italian football. At the moment, six clubs – Roma, Milan, Fiorentina, Venezia, Spezia, and now Genoa – are all US-owned. Given the tumultuous history of foreign ownership in the Italian game, this has been met with some opposition by those from outside these clubs.
They argue, though, that a more market-minded approach that American owners are famous for can be essential for restoring Italian football to its glory days.