It's been a slow news week in Romaland, so you'll have to forgive the massive copy and paste job I'm about to drop on you, but it's not as if we've got a new five billion pound TV deal to relish in. What we do have, however, is a somewhat brash American owner, one whose tongue is growing more silver by the day.
In his two plus years at the helm, we've seen James Pallotta make bold proclamations, battle with the local government officials, and even tear into a certain discarded defender, but Uncle Jimmy brings the heat when dealing with Lazio, particularly in his war of words with his Laziale counterpart, Claudio Lotito.
While Lazio provides ample cannon fodder for Pallotta, Lotito's recent claims regarding Serie A's new TV deal...well, let's just say they left Mr. Pallotta a bit perturbed. Here is Lotito laying claim to Serie A's new €1.2 billion deal:
If Carpi come up... if teams come up who are not worth a cent, in two or three years we won't have a penny. I've done well in selling the TV rights, we brought in €1.2 billion thanks to my skill. I managed to find an agreement between Sky and Mediaset, which in 10 years no-one had been able to do. If in three years we have Latina, Frosinone, who would buy those rights? They don't even know where Frosinone is
I suppose you can't fault him for lamenting the presence of such unknown clubs in the top flight, but it's not as if the Premiership's record deal was signed, sealed and delivered because people are aching to see Burnley or Sunderland. Broadcasting rights are borne on the backs of the big clubs and the big stars. In order for Serie A to stand a chance to regain second pegging among the Big Five, they need Roma, Napoli, Juventus and the Milanese clubs to be fiscally sound and competitive in the transfer market; who comes up and who comes down matters only to the clubs involved; they don't bring the world's eyeballs, the big clubs do.
While there are certain segments of the Roma fanbase that may quibble with Pallotta's precise ways and means, on his ability to see the big picture, there can be no doubt. He knows what it will take for this team and this league to once again be taken seriously on the global stage; he may not get there, but it certainly won't be due to a lack of effort or understanding.
On Lotito's claims of propriety, Pallotta dropped this lovely bit of passive aggression:
It is ironic that as the EPL announces dramatic media rights increases, a certain individual tries to take credit for the most Italian recent media deal It was actually thanks to clubs like ours and others pushing a new vision that certain gains were made. We are also confident there was more upside for the Lega that went unrealized due to this individual.
Congratulations to the EPL on their agreements - it is well deserved. The global market confirms the opportunity is there for us too. To grasp it, though, all Italian teams must look forward, working together, in a transparent manner to move us back to where we belong
There was more upside for the Lega that went unrealized due to this individual... That is just so passive aggressive, so vicious, so awesome and so spectacularly correct. While I don't think Lazio is the most antiquated of the Italian teams, it's hard to be avant garde when so much of your league is incapable or unwilling to move forward.
I'm fully on board with everything Pallotta and his designees are trying to achieve, but, given the uphill battle he's facing due not only to his cohorts anachronistic beliefs but Serie A's dated infrastructure, I fear Roma may never live up to his ideals. If the league continues to lag in acclaim and significance behind their British, Spanish and German counterparts (and if we're being honest, we can probably throw the French in there as well), then Pallotta's task becomes doubled; overcome his domestic competition while trying to shirk the stigma of a sinking league.
These are long-term concerns, of course, so in the meantime, lets rejoice in Pallotta's version of Def Comedy Jam.