Juventus Chief Says Playing Serie A Matches Outside Italy Is a 'Good Option'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 11: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus during the Italian Serie A   match between AC Milan v Juventus at the San Siro on November 11, 2018 in Milan Italy (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates /Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci has teased the possibility that Serie A matches could be played outside Italy and called it a "good option" for clubs to consider exporting one match per season. 

The Italian Super Cup is sometimes played outside Italy, and Ricci told BBC Sport it could be a positive move for Serie A to follow suit if it's to catch up with its European counterparts in earnings: "To get the league more global is really important. Exporting one of the 38 games is a good option."

BBC Sport also detailed La Liga's plan to play a fixture between Barcelona and Girona in Miami on January 16, although that plan has since encountered opposition from world football governing body FIFA.

It's noted the Premier League's overseas deal is worth around £770 million more per year than Serie A's equivalent.

The Bianconeri have won the last seven successive Serie A titles and tend to carry a certain weight when voicing their opinion, but there's far from a guarantee the rest of the league will agree.

It had for a time looked as though Barca and Girona would get to play in the United States in the new year, but FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently ruled out the possibility.

The comment that a league game "should be played within the federation's respective territory" is particularly pertinent to speculation regarding Serie A games being held outside Italy. La Liga is the first division to really drive such an idea, but the Spanish league could be made an example of.

La Liga President Javier Tebas has signalled his intention to keep campaigning for the exporting of the division's matches, however, via Omnisport:

Omnisport @OmnisportNews

FIFA might not like the idea but #LaLiga president Javier Tebas, speaking to Omnisport before Gianni Infantino's comments, is confident Girona v Barcelona will take place in Miami. https://t.co/n5zhJLdtTr

It's understandable that the powers of Serie A consider their options to boost revenue, which is one of Ricci's chief concerns at the Allianz Stadium.

Forbes' Bobby McMahon wrote last year that a consortium including media giants IMG had agreed to pay €420 million per year for Serie A's overseas TV rights for three seasons (until the end of the 2020-21 season). 

In comparison, the Premier League's own three-year agreement is worth a total £3.3 billion, per the Guardian's David Conn, and it has granted even smaller top-flight sides the ability to spend significant sums on transfers.

Europe's top teams regularly venture to the United States for pre-season. Frank Dunne of SportBusiness attested to Ricci being aware of the impact of American support on revenue streams:

Frank Dunne @frankdunneTVSM

As Juventus's head of global partnerships, Giorgio Ricci, told me last week, when it comes to gaining traction in markets like US, there's simply no substitute for getting feet on the ground. Being there makes all the difference. https://t.co/qnao9PQshG

However, it's worth underlining Ricci's priority for business, as blogger Arjun Pradeep recently did, meaning others on the Juventus board may not echo his sentiment:

Arjun Pradeep @IndianRegista

@vincero1897 Giorgio Ricci is the Head of Revenues and I've constantly praised him for over 2 years now. He's really doing a great job. But he won't be involved in the sporting area. Fabio Paratici and Pavel Nedvěd will be the main executives in the sporting area.

FIFA head Infantino has already made his feelings known regarding the general concept of playing league matches outside their usual jurisdiction.

Juventus would need support from elsewhere in the league if they were to make a change in that regard, although it's unclear at present as to whether Serie A's other clubs are so keen to join.