Lack of sustainable business plans. Italian teams dominated in the 80's and 90's because they were the richest teams. Berlusconi in his hayday could outspend just about anybody, and Moratti at Inter and the Agnelli at Juve were close behind. During these golden years, they should have focused on developing a sustainable business plan and investing heavily in merchandising to ensure the teams could finance themselves and not depend on their owners to cover the debts. Unfortunately, they proved to be shortsighted and spent minimal effort in doing this. At the same time, top European teams such as Bayern and Real were investing heavily in promoting their brand overseas and began to reap the benefits of this.
Little investment in youth systems Italy truly is a country for old men, and the Serie A is no different. Large clubs invest relatively little in their youth academies, and rarely promote players from the youth team to the senior squad. They have historically preferred to invest in big names or in foreigners (especially from Brazil and Argentina). The Inter lineup resembles that of the Argentinian national team, and AC Milan consistently snubs Italian youngsters in favour of burnt out Brazilian stars (Ronaldinho, Cafu and Ronaldo dicit).
I am, however, confident that there are signs that some change could occur in the near future. The aforementioned Stadium Law, after years of delay, finally seems to be on the verge of being approved in the Senate. Club owners finally seem to have realised the importance of privately owned stadiums and have themselves organised to lobby the government. People like Moratti, who years ago undermined the importance of a new stadium are now coming up with projects of their own.
|Juve's brand new stadium inaugurated in September 2011|
The problems of the Serie A reflect the problems the country as a whole faces: overbureacratization, narrow special interests, corruption, and slow generational turnover. These are enormous challenges to overcome, but there are signs that something is changing, starting with Juventus. The Serie A is now fighting for its survival as a league. Either radical change occurs, or it will permanently fall into oblivion and be of no use to anyone.