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Football | Italy

Zdenek Zeman © Reuters Images

Zeman takes swipe at Agnelli, Juve



AS Roma manager Zdenek Zeman has accused Juventus and the Agnelli family of failing to reform Italian football while they had the game "in their hands for 20 years".

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said on Friday that Italian football was in need of drastic reform if it was to reverse a dramatic decline at domestic level during which it lost its fourth Champions League place to Germany.

Zeman, who has been frequently critical of Juventus, resumed hostilities by suggesting that the Turin club should have looked to reform Italian football while they were in charge of the game.

"Agnelli said that the system of Italian football is going through a period of rapid decline. I think he's right, there is need for reform, a need to improve," Zeman told reporters in the leadup to Roma's match with Udinese on Sunday (1945 GMT).

"The thing is that it's something that everyone says, meanwhile it's another thing altogether that they (the Agnellis) had football in their hands for 20 years and there was all the time needed to make those improvements."

Agnelli said Italian football was in need of drastic reform on Friday, saying that the present structure was like a local sports club and not appropriate for a multi-million euro business.

"We support a structural reform of professional football ... those who don't condemn Italy to being marginalised in Europe and the world," he told a Juventus shareholders' meeting.

"Reform of the league, the number of professional clubs and the youth sector. Reform of the status of professional sports, currently governed by a law from 1981 - trademark protection, stadium regulations.

"Comprehensive reform of sporting justice, which cannot deal with investments worth millions of euros as though they were a dispute in a local sports club."

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