Karren Brady: Fifa must stand up to end football’s greed-is-good culture as ESL rebel Agnelli quits Juventus in scandal

‘ASTONISHING’ JUVENTUS are in chaos after chairman Andrea Agnelli and the rest of the board resigned over “astonishing” signs of corruption.

Agnelli, the ultra-rich patrician of one of Italy’s most famous families, had been the unchallenged head of the Turin club for 12 years, following his father, uncle and grandfather as chairman.

Karren Brady gives her thoughts on the mess at Juventus

Former Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli is facing allegations of corruption
In this country he is best known for being a driving force of the European Super League, that ill-fated, greatly hated, ruinous usurper of the continent’s football structure.

The dirty dozen who hungered for a tastier slice of the pie planned to ignore Uefa and play in a league of their own without relegation or promotion.

Interestingly, Agnelli’s Old Lady aren’t the only club from the damned ESL founders to be in transition.

Liverpool and Manchester United appear to be for sale, Chelsea have already been sold and Barcelona are hanging on in a financial storm.

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While all but three of the dozen quickly bowed to supporter protest, Agnelli stood firm. He faithfully believed the ‘super’ bit meant superior in all respects.

No doubt he will fight the charges. Until recently he has been a genuinely successful if somewhat tarnished leader.

On the field, the club in his time won nine Serie A titles but this feat has been tainted by a series of allegations including money arrangements for Cristiano Ronaldo after his move from Real Madrid in 2018.

Talking of Ronaldo, fresh from the extreme slagging of his last club, it’s reported he has accepted £173million-a-year, a world record in sport, to move to Saudi Arabia.

As purchases go, this is rather like buying the Mona Lisa to stand on the penalty spot.

Conceivably unfairly, Italy is a byword for corruption.

The current allegations emphasise that it has eaten into top-level football and allegations that a man as powerful as Agnelli, whose aristocratic family has long been known as “The Kennedys of Italy’’, is disturbing.

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Indeed, in England an Italian takeover of an English club is now treated with the utmost caution.

I realise I have played a minor role in the monetisation of the game at the top level and I am proud of many of the changes.

These add up to a quiet revolution, making the Premier League the best league in the world, bringing bigger and better stadiums and training centres and, particularly through the Prem, help for lower divisions and charities.

And let’s not forget that Premier League football contributed £7.6BILLION to the UK economy during the 2019-20 season, which was suspended for more than three months due to the pandemic, and the league and its clubs generated a total tax contribution of £3.6bn to the UK Exchequer in 2019-20, £1.4bn by Prem players.

But Agnelli and his kind have introduced a greed-is-good culture.

It’s a signal that has been received to such a degree that it appears, if the recorded conversations between the top brass at the club tapped by the public prosecutor’s office are anything to go by, entitlement was followed by corruption and fraud.

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This, it seems to me, is the atmosphere in which men such as Agnelli flourish.

Owners whose aim is to transform football only for the sake of a financial bonanza must be closely controlled.

Especially when the ESL holdout clubs — Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona — are still trying to resurrect their plan and have gone to court arguing that Uefa has a clear “conflict of interest” as European football’s regulator and operator, and would “never” authorise a competitor to its flagship Champions League tournament.

Judgement, I am told, is due on December 15.

Fifa leaders give the impression of being happier to watch from comfortable armchairs, it’s time to stand up and be counted.