President of Italian club AS Roma Jim Pallotta took to the internet and set up a Facebook interview with fans from all over the world. The session which lasted close to two hours was the first of its kind (club owner's live chat with fans) and covered serious topics such as the division of the Curva Sud and less important matters such as pasta. Regardless of the question, it seems that Pallotta was willing to take some heat and answered as many questions as he could.
Below is the entire transcript.
Alessandro Colelli: Hi, I'm one of those ‘fucking idiots’ that is located in the Curva Sud and follows Roma... The questions are so many but I wish to concentrate on the situation of the Curva Sud. We all know that the blame for all this is to Gabrielli and his colleagues but why haven’t you spoken to protect us? Even if you could not do anything, at least to hear you try, especially you President. I know very well that this message won't get to you but I tried. Greetings, a fucking idiot.
Pallotta: “It is very nice to finally meet one of the less-than-10 fucking idiots I called out a few months ago that I felt were harming the vast majority of our fans. Any time you want to write and have further discussions, I am willing to listen as long as you promise you will listen to me too. I swear on my father’s grave that we have been working to help. I have had plenty of these messages, warmest regards, the f**king President!”
Alessio P. Bruno: AS Roma supporters are being discriminated with rules deliberately enforced on them by the police. No such rules are enforced in any stadium in Italy. Splitting Curva Sud and building a wall through it was made without you speaking up. The heart and pride of AS Roma supporters has been torn apart. Where are you standing on this? After the fall of the Berlin's wall, only 3 walls have been built in the world! The Iron Wall between Israel and Palestine, the wall against refugees in Hungary and the wall in Curva Sud! Think about it!!!
Pallotta: “I have always said that the heart and soul of Roma is the Curva Sud. In point of fact, if you look at our new stadium plans, the Curva Sud has its own section for 14,000 fans and is an integral part of the fabric of the new stadium.
“We don’t own this stadium and we don’t make any decisions on security and safety at the Stadio Olimpico. That being said, we have been having discussions since the changes were made with the police to find a solution. The police have asked for stairs and security gates to be free, no flares and no bombs. The police are fine with chants and flags. It’s frustrating that our fans think we don’t have a view and that we haven’t been working behind the scenes to rectify this situation. I want to stress that we are working hard behind the scenes and don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss all possible solutions publicly.
“I have always said that our fans are the most important part of our team and nothing has changed. I am frustrated though that while we try and find a solution, the team on the pitch is being hurt by the decreased support at the stadium.”
Pietro Sciamanna: Mr Pallotta, this group said in 2011, that in five years, Roma would be on top of Europe but not only have we not won the Champions League, we have not won anything either in Italy. Without true champions, we can’t win any trophy.
Pallotta: “Three years ago, when I became President, I said we have a five-year plan. We only started making changes two and a half years ago. Since those changes, we have made Champions League twice and have built a team that is more than good enough to win a Scudetto. We continue to invest in our youth, here and abroad, to build championship caliber teams for the future.”
Jacopo Di Somma: Have you forced Daniele De Rossi, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Florenzi and Bruno Conti to keep silent about CURVA SUD situation?
Pallotta: “Ridiculous. They are Romans and their own men. They want your support while we work out the issues.”
Nicola Corsello: Hello Mr. President, can you say hello to me, please?
Pallotta: “You should be studying right now!”
Michał Szydło: Mr.Pallotta, do you not think that the President's place is in the home, ie in Rome? It is impossible to lead the club via Skype. I understand that you have many responsibilities, but we fans are not accustomed to the President in exile
Pallotta: “I wish I could be in Rome much more. I love Rome but in the short run this Fall, I've had to be primarily in the United States working on stadium construction plans and some significant hirings we should be announcing soon in marketing and finance. Starting in November, I will be spending much more time in Rome.”
Andrea Maggiore: Mr President, when do you think AS Roma will have a main sponsor on the jersey? When do you think our team will respect Financial Fair Play totally so that we could have 25 players in the Champions League? When do you think we will not need to sell players to improve balance and capital gains? Thanks for your answers and ‘Sempre Forza Roma’!
Pallotta: “Working on main sponsor. We made some mistakes. Financial Fair Play? We actually have been in compliance with FFP and have not agreed with their view. Our balance sheet is very strong and on a cash flow basis, we have not lost money in the last couple of years.”
Marco Ruggeri: When he arrived, he changed the date of birth of the club and the crest? He wants to change the colours? I don't know, pink and blue, do you like?
Pallotta: “Funny guy.”
Dillon McDaniel: I know that some clubs have a media page in which they can watch all of the games if not available in the area. Will Roma do something like this?
Pallotta: “If we could show every game live to our fans around the world, we would love to do it. However, the live rights for Serie A and the Champions League are sold collectively so it is not possible. We want as many of our fans to be able to watch every game we play but we are frustrated with much of the TV coverage of Roma and Italian football around the world and are working hard to try and improve the situation with others in the league.”
Andrea Coppola: Hello, M. Pallotta, I'd like to know if we can expect to have a stand-alone streaming platform for Roma TV at some point. In the States, as you know, you can watch the games on BeIn Sports and/or Fox Soccer Channel, but they don't always play the Roma games. More and more people here, me included, are disconnecting cable TV and going for cheaper alternatives via streaming (Roku, Apple TV, etc) so the options to watch the games are limited. It'd be great to have the Roma channel streaming all over the world, of course with a monthly membership. Do you think this could be something doable in the not so distant future? From a Romanista in San Diego, CA. Thanks and Dajeee Roma dajeee!!
Pallotta: “Look out for a new online video platform from Roma later this year.”
Vincenzo Pacillo: Which strategies of brand management do you think to use in order to open new markets in Asia and South America? Do you think that it will be possible to increase the number of AS Roma fans in these two continents?
Pallotta: “We have great support in Asia and South America and it was fantastic that we had a chance to visit Indonesia in the summer to meet our fans. We are always looking for ways to bring our fans closer to the team, all over the world, and we will continue to find new ways to increase that engagement with our supporters.”
Giovanni Lazzarini: May I ask you about Leandro Castan? What's going on?? Is he still alive? What if he doesn't get back on field soon?? Thanks for answer! Have fun and stay in Rome longer! If you need a place to stay, I have a B&B (no discount)
Pallotta: “Leo is as fit physically as anyone on the team. With such a serious situation last year, it takes time to get in football shape. The trainers, Darcy and Ed, tell me he's pretty much ready to be back as an important member of our team. Regarding your offer, please send pictures of your B&B. Disappointed about the discount though!”
Omar Al Harbi: Mr Pallotta, I'm from Saudi Arabia and I'm supporting ultras Curva Sud. Am I idiot?
Pallotta: “You tell me? I 100% support the Curva Sud. I will never support anyone who causes problems for other fans and our team. If you are one of those, I guess you are.”
Andrea Bravetti: Would you be interested in being the Mayor of Rome?
Pallotta: “Is it easier than being the President of Roma?”
Orfeo Panichi: A Derby without Curva. What do you think?
Pallotta: “I would be very disappointed if our fans aren't there for the derby. I guess there's a chance I may be sitting by myself in the Curva Sud with a flag and a sign.”
Omero Canard: Mr Pallotta, Strootman - if he were not injured, would he still be a player of Roma? This is to say, OK, for all players there is a price, but how can we hope to win if we do not guarantee ever a backbone to the team?
Pallotta: “No question that Kevin would still be a player of the team if he was fit. I have never had a discussion regarding Kevin leaving. In fact, we extended his contract as a sign of how we feel about him. In numerous discussions with Kevin, the only thing he continually repeats to me is about how much Roma has done for him and he hasn't been able to do the same for Roma. Every time I answer him and tell him, that's a stupid statement. Every day he is part of Roma on and off the field, he does something for Roma.”
Piero Vit: I would like to know what will be the future role in society of Francesco Totti. Thank you
Pallotta: “We've always said that AS Roma is Totti and Totti is AS Roma and we want him to be an important part of the club forever.”
Jordan Tetteh: Does AS Roma have a soccer academy in Africa? If no, does he have plans of building one in Ghana because we have young talents here?
Pallotta: “We are currently having discussions in Africa, as well as in a few other continents. In the last year, we feel we have built out the best academy program in the United States by far under Alex Zecca. We'll be rolling out a similar program in a number of other countries.”
Pietro Cassano: President, could you congratulate my soccer team for the first victory achieved yesterday thanks to my goal?
Pallotta: “Congratulations Pietro! We'll have Walter scout your team!”
Andrea Soldani: Hello Mr. President, I would like to know how is it possible that the communications issued by the Curva Sud have been completely ignored?
Pallotta: “Obviously it hasn't been completely ignored because we have scheduled this chat to address concerns by the fans. As I said before, we are working to find a solution for this issue. My position is simple: we support the Curva Sud and at the same time we support the safety of everybody. I don't believe it does anybody any good to have discussions with the authorities take place in the public forum.”
Valerio Maldera: You say that you have not asked for the division of the Curva but it appears that you have passed it and you sat down to talk to CONI and the Prefect. How can you justify these facts? You lied!
Pallotta: “I did not approve it and I never sat down with the Olympic Committee and the Prefect before the decision. As I said before, we are in discussions to fix things.”
Pasquale La Serra: President, is it not the case to renew the website and do a good app for smartphones?
Pallotta: “We will have a new website and smartphone App later this year. We have spent a lot of time, money and effort in creating what we hope will grow to become one of the best sports club websites in the world.”
Massimiliano Rango: Pallotta, how's business at the restaurant Nebo? A plate of fettuccine, how much does it cost?
Pallotta: “If you come to Nebo, I will pay for the pasta!”
Adriano Pala: Mr President, thank you for the good things that you’re doing for AS Roma, including the construction of a stadium, including a great team, to which the mentality is still missing. But I'm a Season Ticket holder in the Curva for 15 years and now... It's driving me away from my passion. We fans are the best part of the team. You are the President and as "boss" of this, you should unite not divide. There are other ways to ward off the few idiots that ruin the Curva. They are not the ones that sing, displaying banners. I would like to give you this advice because I believe that you are a smart person. I look forward to your reply. Forza Roma!
Pallotta: “I very much appreciate your comments. I don't know why it is so misunderstood how I feel about the fans in the Curva Sud. I have always supported the Curva. Always. I know the Curva Sud is the heart and soul and right now, I feel disappointed that the heart and soul is being torn from the body of Roma. I am not tearing it, nor have I ever had, or would have, intentions to do that. I am frustrated and I am not sure what everyone thinks I can do about the situation when it is not under my control. I am trying to find a solution and working harder on a solution than you all may think. Suggestions welcome but I'm stressing that I will continue to fight against those who cause issues.”
Riccardo Sperpero: When will you give a serious answer on the case of the Curva Sud?
Pallotta: “I think we have been serious and so have the police. Their objective is not to destroy the Curva Sud. Their objective is overall safety and for that, I have to thank them. And they have been very open with us on finding the best solutions towards that objective.”
Ivan Capponi: Are you aware that I spend more money on hookers and get high because I can’t go to the stadium?
Pallotta: “AS Roma is a much better addiction.”
Omero Canard: Mr Pallotta, I understand the need to expand the brand, but if every summer we lose the opportunity to have a serious preparation while we are on the other side of the continent to do tournaments that aren't worth anything, this contributes to making us win nothing during the season.
Pallotta: “The summer tours are serious preparation time for the squad. In fact, since we brought in our new training staff at the end of last season, the team is undoubtedly in the best shape since I have been here. No question on that, on every level. The team on these tours are not sitting in lounge chairs with umbrella drinks, they are working incredibly hard for the season start.”
Alessio Kojoman Petitto: Mr. Pallotta, as you’ve seen, Florenzi has become one of the most important and strongest man on the field. I hope you will let him sign a new contract until he will end his career. Best regards and take care.
Pallotta: “No question we have always wanted him to be in Rome forever like Daniele and Francesco and intend to keep him here. He's Roman.
“That's all I have time for today. I tried to answer as many questions as I could in the last 90 minutes and I apologize to those I couldn't get around to answering. I understand your frustrations when it comes to the situation with the Curva Sud and we are working towards a solution. See you soon. Forza Roma!”