Dear shareholders, good morning and welcome to Allianz Stadium. I began my speech last year in the same way and I would like to repeat the message again this year.
I must say that as a club, as supporters, as a team and technical department, we are extremely proud. Legend. No one in Italy had ever won six league titles in a row and we really should be extremely proud of this achievement.
Clearly, I must thank all of the men and women who work for Juventus for the results achieved on the pitch because none of that would be possible without them. These results are the product of the hard work and commitment of the men and women of Juventus, who should serve as an example for any company in any field.
However, I would like to particularly thank and spare a thought for a group of players, now six members as opposed to eight, who have won six straight league titles: captain Buffon, Chiellini, Barzagli, Marchisio, Lichtsteiner and Bonucci.
What matters is the challenge continues for five of them and that must go beyond legendary status.
In my opinion, based on results on the pitch, we should also say a big thank you to the CEO and general manager for sport, Beppe Marotta, who has led the team to these extraordinary results.
I would also like to thank vice-president Pavel Nedved, who is an example not only for us but also for the current crop of players, and the two individuals who manage the operational side of the team, Fabio Paratici e Federico Cherubini.
Furthermore, I would also like to mention Massimiliano Allegri because of his ability and strength of character to continue a job which for others appeared to have run its course.
However, as you know, this club’s belief, which is something that all of us who bleed black and white have learned, is that the next trophy is always the best. The next trophy will be the best and this season we are committed to winning a seventh consecutive league title to consolidate our position in Italy and in Europe.
However, we have a new challenge, having responded to guidelines from UEFA and the FIGC. Once again thanks to the work of Mr Marotta, we also have Juventus Women this season and I would like to wish them the best of luck in their first campaign in Serie A. Good luck to coach Rita Guarino and the girls as we see Juventus involved in the women’s Serie A for the first time.
We are very proud of what we have achieved on the field but I must say that the work we have done off it should also make us supporters, you the shareholders and all of us extremely proud.
Mr Mazzia will give a presentation later on to show the club’s progress but this year revenue excluding transfers, as is the custom in our industry, has risen a further 20% from the previous year. Therefore, turnover is €411.5 million this year, with EBIT of €67.4 million and a record profit of €42.6 million.
Our efforts on the pitch are what allows us to comment on the work the club does on a daily basis.
However, over the years we have detailed our development plans to you and I must say that, whether you are familiar with the facility or seeing it for the first time, we have refurbished head office and transferred all of the Juventus staff over here.
The Training Center is all but complete. One piece is missing, the adjacent area, the structural part of the Training Center, which is inside the hotel and should be ready in the spring.
The school is fully operational and the concept store will also open over the course of the next year. Therefore, from that perspective, it is nice to see how the tangible work we described to you is being done in parallel with work on the field of play.
We have completed this series of extremely important investments and the move to the new headquarters has also allowed us, to name but one example, make a number of changes to the way our employees work at Juventus, introducing the model of American digital companies with predominantly flexible working hours.
It is important for me to say this because it will help you to see how we try to manage, maintain and innovate, using internal procedures, the quality of life of the individuals who work for Juventus.
We have always said it and we will go on repeating it, this club’s focus is, has been and will always be football on the pitch. However, we know that in order to develop our efforts on the field, we must do likewise off it.
With that mind, once again by way of an example, significant work has been done by the Revenue department headed up by Federico Palomba, Silvio Rigato and Giorgio Ricci. Some of that work was completed over the course of last season and was extremely important. I believe that having a Japanese firm like Cygames as sponsor on the back of our shirt and securing the naming rights of a company like Allianz, joining the Allianz Riviera, Allianz Stadium and the collection of other Allianz-named stadia, really allows us to put Juventus where we hoped to a few years ago, namely among the leading international organisations.
Recently, and therefore after the season whose balance sheet we will shortly approve, we signed a deal with Netflix. It is the first of its kind and relates to the distribution of specific content on the new OTT platforms and clearly it is extremely important to be leading the way in this area.
We also unveiled our new logo in February, which is behind me and everywhere you look and I believe that was also extremely important.
The work was carried out over the course of a year to 18 months and I would like to thank Silvio Vigato and Interbrand for taking Juventus to another level. I found it particularly intriguing before the summer when the International Champions Cup was presented when you had brands such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and ourselves.
It was there, with us lined up next to the other teams, our international competitors, that you could really appreciate the work that went into it and the difference it makes. We’ve stepped away from the traditional logo and moved onto a whole new level. It has enabled us to break away from tradition.
The initial comments were positive, with resistance from some quarters, including some of our own colleagues, people who have worked in the international sector as well as my international counterparts. Now, six, seven, eight months on, I’m receiving one compliment after another because we’re starting to project this new image, which as I said on the day we unveiled it must enable us not just to communicate with our fans but also to communicate a way of life to people who are not so closely connected to football.
Juventus must display a set of values which go beyond football and I’m sure that in the not-so-distant future others will follow our lead because communication is crucial in modern society. That’s what we achieved last season, on and off the field. But it is the challenges that lie ahead that we must be most focused on.
We’ve mentioned our recent on-field successes, which include reaching the Champions League final twice and our aim is obviously to get there again and compete on the international stage but it is the plan we will draw up over the coming months that will tell us what sort of role we can play on the international scene.
Why the coming months? Because the strange thing about your club, about our club, is that in this industry between 30 and 70% of your revenue stream, depending on the club you run, is intermediated by third parties. The intermediary might be the Lega Serie A for collective TV rights or other governing bodies for our competitors, or UEFA. As you know, we take part in competitions which redistribute the centralised revenues based on a series of calculations.
As far as Serie A is concerned, we are currently in the dark as to how much revenue we will receive for the sale of broadcast rights for the next three-year period because the national tender was withdrawn a few months ago and only the tender for foreign rights went ahead. The results were good in absolute terms, because there was an increase from 200 to 400 million a year, but it’s relative really because if you compare the figure for Italian broadcast rights to those of the other main leagues we remain some way behind, even though we were the last to go onto the market. We still have to sell the domestic rights and I hope that happens before the end of the year. It is undoubtedly a huge challenge for Infront and the Lega because the broadcasting landscape in Italy at the moment doesn’t offer much reason to be optimistic. We must wait and see the outcome of the tender, just as we must wait and see how the revenue will be distributed, because the reform of the Melandri law has just been included in the Economic and Financial Document and that could see some of the criteria modified up to 22 December.
The conversations we have had – which I personally have had – with minister Lotti have been encouraging in some ways because while it’s true that he wants to increase the percentage of TV revenue that is equally shared from 40 to 50%, and this has been done, there remains another 20% whose distribution still needs to be determined and it was Lotti’s intention that this 20% should reward the teams who are competing internationally because it is only on the international stage, it is only if Italian clubs are successful in international competitions, that we can stimulate the development of the Italian game.
The development of Italian football should be placed in the context of the industry we work in. The football industry is both simple and complex. It is an industry that is enjoying significant growth.
If we look at the consolidated figures up to the end of 2016, so the last financial year, if we look at the total revenue of the football industry considering the 32 main leagues in Europe, so about 700 clubs, there was an increase of 44.53% from 2010 to 2016.
Turnover went from 12.8 billion to 18.5 billion, an increase of 5.7 billion. The complexity lies in the internal regulatory mechanisms, and this is why people want greater redistribution within the main leagues and the main international competitions, because of that 5.7 billion overall industry increase 2.4 billion, or just under half, went to the top 12 clubs. Their turnover increased from 3.4 billion in 2010 to 5.8 billion today, an increase of 70%. Juventus, who ranked 10th in last year’s Deloitte rankings, was included in that group of 12 clubs. The club went from a turnover of 172 million in 2010, the first year under this current management, to 341 million last year. That’s a 98% increase, more than both the industry as a whole and the biggest clubs.
That makes you realise just how much effort the men and women of Juventus and the management team have put into developing this club. Of course, it’s going to be extremely difficult to maintain such a rate of growth in the medium- to long-term. It will be difficult in competitive terms too and here we go back to the industry and the competitive landscape we find ourselves in.
Manchester United topped last year’s rankings with a turnover of 689 million. If we were to keep growing at the same rate as between 2010 and 2016, when we basically doubled our turnover, if we were to double our turnover between 2016 and 2022, we would reach 677 million, a figure I think we would all be extremely proud of. Yet that figure would put us in second place in 2016. This means that our competitors are racing ahead and we must be aware of that when we look at ourselves in international terms.
On an international level, besides this polarisation there is also a certain amount of ossification, to use a term that UEFA are fond of. The big clubs that are winning keep on winning. PSG, Bayern, Barcelona, Real and Juve, looking at the big leagues, keep winning domestically year after year and they compete among themselves internationally. But there are others that get talked about much less, like Copenhagen, Legia Warsaw, Benfica and Porto so even in the medium-sized leagues we have the same clubs winning year after year.
This should make us think about what professional football in Europe should look like in the future and we should separate Italy and Europe to understand the context. We must therefore develop a medium-term plan over the coming months which gives us three years of planning and an eye on 2024, and I will tell you why 2024 in a minute, and which inevitably starts domestically. It is here that we play 38 matches per year plus the Coppa Italia.
Our first and main area of competition is Italy. Our first target must be to win in Italy. Our aim must be to consolidate by winning a seventh straight Scudetto. Someone will have the task of finding superlatives in the future.
How would we describe the players if they were to win seven consecutive league titles? We will hopefully cross that bridge when we come to it but I want to stress that our main area of competition remains Italy, where in recent times we have seen some progress.
With that in mind, for my part and from Marotta’s too I believe, I would like to applaud the efforts of the FIGC president in his role of commissioner of Lega Serie A and sub-commissioners Michele Uva and Paolo Nicoletti. With great difficulty from April of this year, we approved a new statute of the Serie A National Professional League a couple of weeks ago. It is now more streamlined with more suitable governance to meet the challenges for Lega Serie A both in Italy and abroad. The council is made up of seven members: three independent members, an independent CEO and a third president.
There was a positive meeting in Milan yesterday where two working groups were created. It appears likely that a head-hunting firm will be tasked with identifying the most suitable candidate to run the Lega and we hope that we can therefore start to develop Italian football as a product because the main challenges for Lega Serie A remain much the same: the product itself, first and foremost, which allows us to continue the game’s economic growth, and the facilities in which football is played. Stadiums are run-down and therefore the challenge over the next three to six years, in my mind, can only be the refurbishment of stadium facilities, which are the stage both for supporters going to watch football and the broadcasters distributing the product in Italy and abroad.
Distribution is next on the list. Not distribution of economic resources but distribution within Serie A. I have sat down on many occasions in the past to discuss this with my colleagues. One thing is selling to make a return on the Serie A product but then we have to ensure that it is distributed. If we are included in a series of packages which allow us to promote the agencies’ product but Serie A is not seen abroad it’s of no use whatsoever, and the disadvantage we face compared with other leagues would only increase.
As for the FIGC, and I’m sure Beppe will have some questions later, I would like to once again remind you that in order to develop the club and Italian football as a whole, we must focus on two issues.
First, reforming the league structure: 20 teams are too many and this is also a matter which is being debated abroad because, apart from the Bundesliga, the other main leagues all have 20 teams and they have the same problems that we face.
Second, B teams. UEFA president Ceferin has pointed the finger at the current number of loans and he is right, in that this can have an impact on how competitive leagues are. However, it is also true that for clubs that operate in a system like ours, dramatically reducing the number of loan deals would also mean being able to have genuine B teams where young players of 18, 19, 20 and 21 years of age could play who wouldn’t otherwise have an outlet. The Primavera league is a good competition but it is not capable of producing players who are ready for first-team football. Statistics from the past show that recent winners of the Primavera league like Chievo and Torino, which are clubs that should invest in young players and bring them into the first team, have not managed to have any of the Primavera-winning side break into any first-team squad in Serie A the following year.
England is another country with a high number of loans and they do not have B teams either. However, their equivalent of the Primavera league is an Under-21 championship which allows clubs to hang onto young players for three years more than us and the number of loans in England is a third of ours in Italy. The data from a year ago shows approximately 450 loans in Italy, 150 in England and between 30 and 40 in other leagues, i.e. one or two players per team, where loans are used as a tool. So B teams are crucial, as is a reform of the league structure.
The next item on the agenda in terms of developing the club is the international arena. And here, at Juventus club headquarters, I would like to thank Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president of Bayern Munich and former president of the European Club Association, who has also been an example and mentor for me over recent years. The results he has achieved with Bayern Munich are there for all to see so I will not comment on them. What has definitely gone unnoticed however, because it is not as exciting as the action on the field, is the work Rummenigge did at the ECA.
He took its members into a new dimension compared to when it was founded in 2008, reaching agreements both with UEFA and FIFA, as well as others protecting clubs. For example, football associations must now have insurance coverage when players are with them. He also secured a part of the World Cup and European Championship proceeds for the clubs who provided the players, secured places for two clubs on the UEFA executive committee and a say on FIFA’s international calendar. Last but not least, he helped create a UEFA sister body, the UEFA Club Competitions S.A., which sees the running of the Champions and Europa Leagues shared between European clubs and UEFA, with three officials appointed by UEFA and three by the ECA.
The results he achieved were exceptional and as I said to the UEFA president I hoped he would continue at ECA this year. The phone call I got from him in mid-August, when he told me he wouldn’t be standing again, came as a big surprise but afterwards he offered me a lot of support by backing me strongly to become his successor and that’s something I’m extremely proud of.
2016 also saw change at the top of FIFA and UEFA, with Gianni Infantino appointed as president of FIFA and Aleksander Ceferin as president of UEFA. Both have only recently risen to the summit of international governing bodies and while I have known the FIFA president for years due to his previous role as UEFA secretary I met the UEFA president at a committee on EU matters and I must say that his capability and vision for football has been a wonderful surprise.
Getting back to the context, the context will be decisive when it comes to discussing matters with both presidents. With the FIFA president we must make a serious effort to revise the international calendar as well as the summer and January transfer windows and try to align the needs of club competitions with those of national-team competitions. Whenever I speak to Allegri, but also when I speak to directors and agents, those three blocks of international fixtures in September, October and November add an extra layer of difficulty in terms of management for clubs with 10 or 15 international players. That’s why I think we can and we must find alternative solutions, which might be, for example, letting the players go on international duty for a whole month.
That would enable clubs to plan differently and not have repeated interruptions and these long-haul flights, especially to South America. The other area we’ll be involved in is the transfer market system and regulations for player transfers. However, the bulk of our work over the next few years will be done with UEFA because our relations with them are more intertwined, both formally, via the UEFA executive committee and various other committees, and informally.
There are several items on the agenda and the UEFA president touched on nearly all of them during his speech at the Geneva congress last September. They relate to Financial Fair Play, the first phase of which was a huge success, because the targets it set have been reached, but now we perhaps need to review it again. It is very likely that following the agreement between UEFA and the European Professional Football Leagues a new memorandum of understanding will have to be agreed with UEFA to take us up to 2024.
We will need to manage international competitions in an expert manner by appointing our officials. We will need to decide on the future of the Europa League for the period 2021-24 and, most importantly, and this is a need we feel and which all European clubs feel, we need to understand what will happen to international competitions after 2024, where the aim must be harmonisation on a European scale.
Individual leagues and associations making rules within their countries are almost an obstacle and that is why I hope, both as president of Juventus and as ECA chairman, to see a big round table with the players’ union FIFPro, the European Professional Football Leagues, ECA, which represents us clubs, and UEFA, to decide what the future might hold after 2020-24.
This is extremely important for us clubs because we have six years ahead with the current system, the Champions League, the Italian league as we know it and the Champions League as we know it, the Europa League in 2018-21 as we know it, but the biggest problem we face, that we all face, is the pursuit of economic and financial stability.
That is very difficult to manage with the current formats because there’s a huge risk for all of us and against which there is no insurance and that’s the risk on the pitch. It goes for clubs aiming to get in the Champions League and for those who want to stay where they are, i.e. not get relegated, because that’s what guarantees each club the biggest portion of their turnover, both in relative and absolute terms. It goes for Italy, Germany, and England, who are the ones we hear about most often, but also Denmark, Portugal and Poland. The clubs who reach the preliminary rounds of the international competitions hold a big competitive edge within their domestic league and that’s why we have this long list of teams who dominate on the domestic front.
So we all have a need. Ours is to compete domestically and clubs from medium-sized countries need more international visibility, because the problems experienced by Bayern Munich are the same as Benfica’s, ours are the same as Legia Warsaw’s and Barcelona’s are the same as Helsinki’s. It’s just on a different scale. We must hope that over the coming years football doesn’t only develop at the rate we mentioned earlier, which is an incredibly impressive rate, but we must evolve from this perspective too. And you cannot evolve unless there is dialogue between all parties.
We therefore need the entrepreneurs and the investors in football to look at things carefully. They must be the first to promote change and they must seek evolution by making a daily commitment and through investment.
Juventus, your club, intends to demonstrate its leadership in this area by collaborating at all tables, both domestically, with the Lega and the FIGC, and internationally, via ECA, UEFA and FIFA. While uncertainties remain with regard to economic and financial planning, which I hope will soon be overcome, what I am certain of, and what I would like to share with you shareholders, is that Juventus aim to still be leading the way at the end of this period.