Fiat Chysler union workers in Melfi, Italy have gone on strike protesting the +/- $117 million transfer fee (largest in Serie A history) paid to bring Cristiano Ronald to Juventus. The Italian trade union released a statement saying, “it’s unacceptable that, while for years you have continued to ask FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and CNHI (Case and New Holland Industrial) workers to make enormous sacrifices on an economic level, the company spends hundreds of millions of euros on the purchase of a footballer.” The statement went on to suggest “the company should invest in car models which guarantee the future of thousands of people rather than make just one person rich.” The strike, which began on the evening of July 15th will run through the morning of July 17th.
Howie Long-Short: The Agnelli family, which owns a controlling interest (63.77%) in Juventus, also has a 29.1% stake in Fiat (owns Ferrari); making the union workers and Ronaldo “employees of the owner.” Fiat workers (those lucky enough not to be on “state sponsored layoff schemes”) haven’t seen raises in a decade as the company has continually told employees “that times are tough and that we must resort to social safety nets in anticipation of the launch of new models which never arrive”, so their anger is understandable. Unfortunately (for leverage purposes), the strike is likely to have little impact on corporate profits; the factory is just 1 of 7 Fiat controls in the country and the union reportedly doesn’t have many workers there. Fiat is claiming that a recent investment in the company will enable all workers to return to work by 2022.
Fiat and Juventus are independent companies and each manages their own finances, so it’s not as if Juventus pulled capital from Fiat’s investment fund (as the statement alluded). In the event the 2 companies did commingle funds, one must think Ronaldo’s arrival would have a positive long-term impact on company finances; JVTSF revenues/profits are “strongly influenced by the performance of sports results and in particular the UEFA Champions League”. A Ronaldo led Juventus team would certainly be expected to qualify for the UEFA Champions League annually.
Fan Marino: As mentioned last week, it’s possible (if not likely) Ronaldo will appear against his former squad on U.S. soil. Real Madrid is scheduled to play Juventus in the International Champions Cup in Washington, D.C. on August 4th.
There should be a few other opportunities to see Ronaldo in the U.S. this summer. Juventus will make appearances in both Philadelphia (July 25, vs. FC Bayern) and Harrison, NJ (July 28, vs. Benfica); and will take on the MLS all-stars in New Orleans on August 1.
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