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A rating system in the workings for Pro League football teams

by Gianni Dragoni

What do a Monsignor and the Vatican Gendarmerie have to do with football? This is something Gabriele Gravina -- the president of the Pro League, previously known as Serie C, consisting of 60 teams -- should explain.

Gravina, in fact, launched the idea of rating football teams on their ability to improve their balance sheets, the quality of their stadiums and the development of young players.
Gravina also set up an ethics committee within the Pro League, with the aim of promoting the values of legality and transparency.

Among the committee's six members is Monsignor Piero Santoro, member of the Italian Episcopal Conference's Commission on Youth, family and life. Another member of the committee is the commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani.

The President of the committee is prefect Francesco Cirillo, while the other members are RAI journalist Paola Ferrari (Vice President), general Luigi Curatoli - who serves as special commissioner of contracts for the Pompeii site - and former Siena police commissioner Salvatore Festa.

This rating system is intended as a form of self-regulation and will not replace the national licensing system certified by the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) , which remains the only criterion for deciding whether a club can take part in the championship.

The rating is based on a score assigned with respect to four areas:
1) economic and financial criteria, for instance, equity may not be less than 70% of total debt (in this case, the club gets 10 points);
2) infrastructure, for instance owning a stadium is rewarded with 15 points, an over 10-year lease with 7 points and 3 points are awarded for every € 300,000 spent on improvements;
3) junior team policies;
4) relationship with the local community and social aspects. A minimum score of 80 points must be achieved.

Gravina's goal is to introduce, within three years, this rating system as decisive for joining the championship. It will be effective on an experimental basis from the next football season, 2017-2018.

In order for the system to become mandatory, it must be approved by the Italian Football Federation's Federal Council.

“It's a real revolution. The Pro League will grant three years' time to the clubs so that they can comply,” said Gravina.

“Being in the red is not an obstacle to being admitted to the championship,” he added. “The rating system will not be immediately binding, but can still have an impact. It might influence from the start the distribution of resources within the system, such as the sponsors.”