Azionariato Popolare AS Roma (Part 3)

OK, so here is another section of quotes that I’ve translated from Walter Campanile’s various interviews, this time from the press conference itself. Again it must be said that if any sense at all is lost from the translation then sorry, but there is no malicious intent in any linguistic fuck ups I make. And in any case, this is mainly for my benefit, so screw you. If you want to get hot off the press Italian news then learn the bloody language yourself. Below is a more up-to-date vision of what they feel the organisation should be about, with the original Italian here, for those of you who wouldn’t mind helping me out a bit. Meanwhile, if you’re at all interested in the structure of the APASR then why not take a look at the informative slides from the conference?

In what concrete way do you want to contribute to the growth of Roma and how does the current owner feel about that?
Mario Sacchi of Envet: The objective of the association is to assist and support the club. It’s evident that we will have to invest in the club, as a minority, obviously.

Is there a representative of the club here? Was one invited? Was the project presented to the club?
(There are a couple of sentences here that I literally cannot make head nor tail of: how depressing – Ed). In Europe we have clubs that were born as sporting clubs in which the member is a ‘socio’ (a member in the true sense of the word – Ed) and they developed on this model. At Hamburg for example, they didn’t need an azionariato, but the association ‘Friends of Hamburg’ nourishes the fan base, helps in the life of the club and of the supporters, and it also brings together thousands of members. Arsenal isn’t in the hands of their fans, but a group has a minority interest that doesn’t change the life of Arsenal, but it gives consent to the participation from and the involvement of those who care about the club. Roma is undoubtedly the object of this project.

Walter Campanile: We invited everyone here today, representatives of Roma and of the institutions. Their non presence doesn’t bother me because as yet we haven’t done anything. I’m sure that the work that we do will eventually be appreciated. Already, with regards to the number of members, we have overtaken Arsenal. This, we still repeat, is only a point of departure. We only want to participate and contribute to the management of the club. To let us help Roma, only that. Like Ranieri’s Roma, we also have to work off the pitch one step at a time. A note to the fans: all fans demand maximum effort from their players, so we mustn’t hold back when there is the opportunity to do something concrete.

How come there are no representatives from Roma here?
There are some (It’s clear who they are; they didn’t make themselves known at the time – Ed). We  have already opened the channels of dialogue and have invited everyone. I’m available to go anywhere to talk about our project.

Is Angelini one of your members? (Note: you might remember from my first post on this subject that pharmaceutical magnate Francesco  Angelini has been wildly rumoured to be interested in buying the club. This has caused many to think that the APASR was a front for various high-profile people to buy it from the Sensis, of whom more later)
Walter Campanile: No.

Will the money collected from members go to the club’s transfer market budget?
By law the money cannot go in the pockets of our associates. Just to be clear there will be specific body that will decide how the money is spent, and it will be possible to verify that through the balance sheet. If come the second year you become disillusioned you will be able to leave and not have to pay the money again. Transparency is guaranteed.

As we saw in the previous post, the group want to contribute financially to the club, with a minority say in what happens, and with the ain – in the short-term at least – of being little more than a community hub for fans. There appears to be a lot of talk about socios, but the comparison with those clubs is moot, as they are owned by their own communities and critically, they elect the people who run the club. This isn’t to say what happens at these clubs is perfect; Lord knows you only have to put in the occasional cursory glance at Sid Lowe’s Spanish football articles to know that the political machinations at Real Madrid in particular can get pretty ugly, frankly I’d be hoping that whatever does become of this project stays as far away from the ugliness that is Real Madrid as possible.

What happens to any money invested however, is another discussion altogether. Last week Roma’s owner Rosella Sensi had a meeting with Italian bank Unicredit regarding Italpetroli’s €400million plus debt, of which €300million is owed to them. Let’s just say that the meeting didn’t go well. ‘While Roma are flying on the pitch and dreaming of the Scudetto, off it the future of the club remains in doubt’, says Il Tempo (which appears to be a subsidiary of Il Sole 24 Ore, who basically invented the story about APASR that I mentioned above – we’ll skip over that for the time being). Why? well, Unicredit are 49% shareholders in Italpetroli (the company that indirectly controls Roma, remember) and are calling for the cancellation of the debt repayment plan and an  injunction on 13 Sensi assets, for various business-y reasons, including not communicating the company’s net asset value (regarding the 2008 balance sheet) in time. In 2008 the group lost €33million, and if 2009’s losses add up to more than €17million they will have to reduce capital, and as the Sensi’s don’t have any other solutions, Unicredit are adamant that assets must be sold.

The paper finishes: ‘The alternative is a recapitalisation, in which the bank would be ready to participate, but it would probably not gain a majority consensus from the shareholders. When thinking about the sale of assets thoughts shouldn’t go to Rome, the jewel in the group’s crown, made even more appetising in the last few months by on the pitch results that will probably take them into the Champions League next year. If the Sensis do have to give up the club, pharmaceutical magnate Francesco Angelini remains a credible potential buyer, and will be following the story with interest.’

No mention of our boys and girls in the Azionariato Popolare AS Roma yet. Maybe in time.

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More Lodigiani News

I forgot to mention in my last post that the Lodi ultras gave me a copy of number 73 of their fanzine Voce in Capitolo. I have been going through it (slowly but surely), and I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve read so far. The front cover has a picture of the Gabriele Sandri mural that is at the front of the Curva Nord for Lazio home games, and the headline ‘Remember, don’t forget!’ Above him is a quote from Napoleone; ‘Ten people that speak make more noise than 10000 who are silent’, which is pretty appropriate as a motto, seeing as there are only ten of them.

It’s only eight pages of A4 printed out on a home printer and helf together by a staple, but it has a clear idea of what it’s about and has some diverting articles from the ultras scene around. There’s an interesting story about racist Treviso ultras, who back in 1999 barracked a new signing, a Brazilian called Pelado, with racist chanting and even refused to show up for games. The local paper ran stories slagging off the ultras the club came out and publicly denounced them,  which culminated in all the Treviso players all coming out for the last game of the season with blacked up faces, as a show of solidarity. Seriously. There’s also the tale of Red Boys Ternana, who in 1992 split with the Curva Nord lot after they went all fascisty, then attacked the local MSI (cunty neo-fascist organisation) building for infiltrating their curva. As well as that there’s a hot or not column, in which they rather cheekily place themselves, while slagging off both Real Madrid’s support and Carla Bruni, for reasons I don’t quite understand, a diatribe against the police and how football fans are treated in this country by Simone that centres on Sandri’s death and a rather apposite piece on local public transport concerns. If anyone who isn’t in their group is reading this stuff I don’t know, but at least it’s pretty entertaining.

I am also mightily relieved to discover that they’re not a bunch of fascists. It’s a shame that the thought even crossed my mind, but with Italian ultras you never know, unfortunately. Right now I’m reading a piece that is lauding the Americans for voting for Barack Obama (going a little bit over the top in the process – American Dream my arse), and wondering when a similar change will happen in Italy. It’s also quite a good piece, so I’ve painstakingly translated as much as I can for you to read.

The Wind of Change and the Calm Italian

So Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States, and their first black president. The United States have always been great innovators, and in moments of recession and crisis make their democracy really work. Seeing the images of winner Obama appearing before his people made me feel profound emotions, and I felt like I belonged to that historic and unrepeatable moment. It was a victory against the history of America and against it’s historic prejudice.

But this is the American Dream. This is America, a land where nothing is impossible, and where everyone has a chance of their own. Where those who want to change, can do it. This change came from the grass roots, because before he could run for the Presidency he had to convince the people of his own party (after a very long campaign of democratic nominations against Hilary Clinton), and then not to just the voters of colour, but also the young and the poorest. There is excitement for what has happened in America. Maybe Obama will do well, maybe not, but America has sent out a message. And a strong one at that.

Today however, despite the joy of Obama’s election, I want to kick anyone who crosses my path and scream so loud that everyone can hear me. Today I feel, alongside my joy for the American fable, a profound sense of defeat, and rage. When will the true grass roots revolution happen here, like in America? When will we young finally be able to have a political figure close to us, who represents us, whose principle priority is to guarantee everyone a standard of life worthy of the name and not to protect their own arses from prosecution or to maintain the status quo of Rai and Mediaset? When will we be capable of kicking the arses of the political class that has destroyed us, removed all hope and made the country go gangrenous? The world has changed! America has Obama, Germany has a woman chancellor and Spain and Great Britain choose young Prime Ministers, while we are still here to watch the television regime that gives you only the information that it wants to, like the embalmed Andreotti they croak on live TV and with the delirious statements quoted from a tarred Prime Minister and his stooges that, sincerely, I don’t know how they have achieved this level of power… and meanwhile I ask myself where is my generation, who should have fought for these times and instead never has? Where is that student mass that looked like it wanted to do who knows what a few days ago?

How many times have we criticised the Americans because they are lobbyists and warmongers, people without values? But they come out of their skin when they need to and they don’t have even need grand demonstrations in squares for change. We make false claims of democracy, but in reality were are hand in hand with people that trample on our constitution and liberty, while the few young people that are still passionate about politics join the war between fascism and communism, categories from which the rest of the world have seperated themselves. We are always so far behind, and maybe we will never move. contemporary history teaches us that the great historical, economic and social movements come from America, before arriving in Europe. And then, after a long time, maybe, they arrive in Italy.

We know that to only vent about it doesn’t truly serve anything in itself, but I hope that Obama’s political tsunami invests in Italy, sooner or later. I hope that when it comes to voting we abandon the old logic of clientelism. I hope that we will not vote for more of the squallid functionaries of parties and their errand boys, but people that can represent our us. Maybe sooner or later a Dream Italy will exist. But right now I can’t imagine it.

Now, as I said before, it goes over the top in it’s arse licking of the American process, but it’s a refreshing change to see football fans engaging with politics in a way that isn’t coloured by class or racial bigotry, let me tell you. It also gives me a chance to post this for you to whistle along to….