Italy braced for €1bn hit to economy due to World Cup failureHeat Profit
Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2018 football World Cup in Russia could cost the country in excess of €1bn (£890m), the former president of Italy’s National Olympic Committee has said.
Franco Carraro said the Azzurri’s absence in next summer’s showpiece event would be keenly felt in many parts of Italian society, including lower advertisement sales during the televised matches.
“It’s not only about missed advertising sales, television rights and merchandising related to the event,” Carraro was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
“There is much more to it, including the missed sales for travel operators organising holiday packages to Russia, let alone the turnaround of betting companies and of bars and restaurants across the country during the matches.”
Four-time world champions Italy failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in 60 years after they lost a play-off with Sweden 1-0 on aggregate.
The defeat led to the sacking of Italy coach Giampiero Ventura, while veteran players Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi all retired from international duty.
“To start with, the team won’t play any official matches until the beginning of the qualifications for the next European Championship after the summer 2018,” Carraro explained.
“That implies that other friendly matches will attract less interest and money at all levels, including sponsorship and television rights.”
The Italian FA have spoken to former Chelsea and AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti over succeeding Ventura.
Ancelotti is currently out of a job after he was sacked by Bayern Munich in September. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, Zenit St Petersburg coach Roberto Mancini and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri are reported to be among the other names on the Italian FA’s shortlist.
Meanwhile, Sassuolo president Giorgio Squinzi said Serie A clubs needed to give more opportunities to Italian players to reverse the national team’s slump.
“We should be thinking of a way of limiting the number of foreign players and incentivise the use of Italians,” he was reported as saying by ESPN.
“The paradox is that we have more Italians than any other club in Serie A, yet our players were practically ignored by the national team. There are plenty of good youngsters around, but we are not giving them the chance to play.”