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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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China to the rescue of Italian football

Italy has long been seen as the European nation that represents style, and that was also true of Italian football.  However, that image has been tarnished by decaying infrastructure in Italian cities and corruption ridden public services.  There seems to be no viable political solution.

At one time left-wing academics praised the Italian state holding enterprises that had been left over from Mussolini.   Then they discovered the 'Third Italy' of networked small firms producing luxury goods, but even that aspect of the economy was not quite what it appeared to be.

Chinese group takes majority stake in Inter Milan

Chinese appliance retailer Suning Commerce Group has agreed to pay €270m for a 70 per cent stake in Inter Milan.   The retailer is already active in domestic Chinese football.

Ex-owner , Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, remains as president with a reduced stake of 31 per cent.   The club is thus entirely in foreign hands for the first time.

Chinese group may buy AC Milan

The owner of AC Milan, Silvio Berlusoni, has been in negotiations with Galatioto Sports about the sale of the club.  They are representing a Chinese consortium headed by Robin Lee, the sixth richest man in China.

The intial offer would be for 70 per cent of the shares and is believed to be €700m.  The remaining 70 per cent would be acquired at a later date.

Italian football needs overhaul

This blog post suggests that Italian football requires a major overhaul if it is to regain its former stature. Doubtless so, but some of the five suggestions put forward would prove controversial, not least merging clubs.   The personal identity of fans is tied up with clubs and successful mergers are few and far between.

Cash incentives to do well in Europa League

Premier League clubs may be offered cash incentives to do as well as possible in the Europa League. The plan is one of a number of measures that have been discussed to ensure that the top flight does not lose its fourth slot in the Champions League to a resurgent Serie A.

Italy made up more than half their deficit to England in Uefa's coefficient table in 2015.   They could leap ahead next season leaving the Premier League with only three slots from 2018.

Progress in Juventus finances

There has been substantial progress in restoring the finances of Juventus reports the authoritative Swiss Rambler blog in a detailed analysis.

After a pre-tax loss of €10.9m last year, there was a small pre-tax profit of €0.1m.   Admittedly, this then became a large post-tax loss because of a perverse Italian tax which penalises companies with high personnel costs which seems to be a disenctive to employment.

Parma relegated to Serie D

Parma have been relegated to Serie D after failing to find new owners to wipe out of €22.6m of debt.   The club won the Uefa Cup in 1995 and 1999.   Given that the population of the city is 190,000, this represented a considerable achievement.   However, the club experienced an earlier bankruptcy in 2004 following the Parmalat scandal.

AC Milan look for investors

AC Milan president Silvio Berusconi is looking for investors in the club from abroad, particularly it seems from China.   This is somewhat paradoxical as he also argues that there are too many foreigners in Italian football.

Which teams get the big sponsorship money?

There is a lot of detailed and interesting information in this report from Forbes about which clubs get the big sponsorship money and how the picture is changing.

The biggest source of revenue is shirt sponsorship (or jersey sponsorship as this report calls it).   That is followed by stadium naming rights which have become an increasingly lucrative source of revenue.  

The sad tale of Parma FC

Recently I was one of the examiners for a PhD thesis on cheese.   One of the other examiners was Italian and there was a big debate about the quality of different types of Parmesan cheese.   There are real cheese wars going on between 'New World' and 'Old World' countries and it's a major source of conflict in international trade negotiations, not least over what can be sold as 'Parmesan' cheese.