Gazidis on Milan, Arsenal, FFP and ‘wrong’ Super League project

by | Sep 24, 2021 11:37

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis sees similarities between Italian and English football and insists the Rossoneri are ready to build a new stadium.

The 57-year-old was diagnosed with throat cancer in July and is undergoing treatment in the USA.

The former Arsenal director spoke about his illness and the club’s plans for the future in an interview with Sette Magazine.

“I feel good, I’m very busy and I can combine work and therapy. It seems that they are having positive effects, so I am confident about a full recovery, I hope to return as soon as possible,” Gazidis said as quoted by Calciomercato.com.

“I was speechless for the messages I got from the great Milan family. All this is giving me incredible energy. Now I understand what the players feel when they hear the fans pushing at the stadium.”

Milan: Gazidis diagnosed with throat cancer

The Rossoneri have collected 13 points from the opening five Serie A games and sit second in the Serie A table, just two points behind leaders Napoli.

They have returned to the Champions League for the first time in eight seasons, but what has the future in store for the Rossoneri?

“My experience begins in the USA, where the success of MLS depends on training young American players,” the 57-year-old said.

“In Premier League, we completely renewed the development path of English players, clubs were given incentives to develop the academies, but you had to meet very high standards.

“Arsenal invested a lot of money in a program for players from nine to 16 years, choosing an international staff.

“The players who at the time were 12 years old now are the national [Bukayo] Saka and [Jadon] Sancho. The philosophy was not to have an obligation to have a certain number of English players on the team, but the commitment to meet specific standards, so the English players had to be up to it.

“No one can think of winning today only with established champions. I think Italian football is a bit conservatory, as English football used to be 10 years ago.

“There are interesting ideas out there and something is changing as the national team proves.”

Just like any other European club, the Rossoneri suffered the consequences of the COVID pandemic.

They were one of the clubs who agreed to participate in the European Super League in April, but they joined Atletico Madrid and six Premier League giants in withdrawing from the competition after just 48 hours.

Gazidis admits it was a wrong idea but reveals why the Rossoneri had initially agreed to join the project.

“When you are in trouble, you may also lose clarity. The problems have remained and must be faced together, clubs, UEFA and FIFA because the crisis is not finished and it is no time for anyone to declare victory,” Gazidis warned

“The question of governance is fundamental, we must remember that everything is based on clubs.

“Milan will have to answer a series of questions about our financial health. So Financial Fair Play still exists.

“[In 2019] we wanted a sustainable football project and we were punished with a year’s suspension from international competitions,” he continued.

“I accept that, but the rules must be the same for everyone. Are they? You have to ask UEFA, its credibility is at stake.

“We at Milan do not want to say no to ambitions but give the club the strength to build a successful and independent future.

“People talk about €10m as if it were not real money, but in the end you have to pay the bills: I want Milan to be solid enough to do it.

“This club must not be saved, it must be re-built. And if it’s built right, it’ll stand on its own and look ahead.

“I said from day one that it would be difficult, sometimes we need unpopular decisions, but the fans begin to understand our model.

“Two and a half years ago, there was so much scepticism, inside and outside the team, now no, people support us.”

The building of a new stadium could be the next step for the development of the club.

“We are ready. The sooner we do it, the sooner Milan will have not only a top-class stadium but also two world-class clubs.

“It will also be important for the city: people will come to Milan and it will be one of the places they want to visit, such as the Duomo.”

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