Paolo, candidate for the presidency
Hi Paolo, so here we are: for some time your possible descent into the field was in the air. For you who have played so many major challenges, it almost seems like a natural transition. What can you tell us more about your choice?
Look, certain decisions are always the result of long reflections but the important fact is that today I can truly say that it is the right time. I am convinced that the Federation needs a new growing season and, as I see it, what is really needed is an important turning point in the very setting of the Federation and, consequently, in the management of the Rugby System in Italy.
A change that is requested by many, what do you think is the right formula to start this path?
At first glance, there are many voices pushing for a revolution, but we have to see the substance: up to now I have not seen proposals that go in the direction of real change. I spent several years in the Federation, with strictly operational roles. In my role as President of the Sports Facilities Commission, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time on the territory, knowing infinite realities. Rugby in Italy is a complex world made up of very different clubs.
From all the time spent wandering around the rugby fields all over Italy, I can say that in recent years the movement has grown and that many steps forward have been made. Of course, we are far from perfect but I do not agree with the position of those who, from the outside, play the defeatist. It cannot be said that the Italian Rugby System is the same as 10 years ago.
It is also evident, however, that the "others" have grown more and at a different rate in these same years, even if the gap is not new today and by the end of the 1990s the distance had narrowed. Money, tradition, number of players, sponsors, television audience, connection with the territory even then marked a big difference between us and Great Britain, Ireland or France.
So what can we do to achieve the same speed as others?
Today, at almost 50 years old, after having played and achieved a lot on the pitch, with a satisfying professional career as an architect and many years spent alongside the Federation, I clearly see the fundamental steps to set a new leap in quality.
First of all, we need a long-term program. Hence the idea of Rugby2030: we need a vision that embraces all the components of Italian rugby, with a view to sustainability, in growth.
Second, real teamwork is needed. My approach, in professional life, has always been based on the development of a work group to entrust the growth process to.
Finally, following the example, not only of the major rugby Unions, but of the sports industry in general, we need Professionals, with a capital P. People who do not necessarily come from the world of sport, but rather who bring their managerial experience and their strategic vision within the Federation.
I imagine a General Manager, who will take care of the administrative, commercial, marketing, communication and events aspects and a Director of Rugby, who will manage the technical part.
Programming, teamwork, professionalism. Is this the basis of your project?
If today we look at the RFU, or at the La Liga or the NBA, we find many managers who come from sectors other than sport. Today the Federation is, to all intents and purposes, a company that must be managed with specific skills and that must constantly renew itself.
On this point, I am not referring only to pure business. Obviously, we need club, grassroots, school and community development programs that have logic other than profit. But in the end, in a virtuous system, everything contributes to the growth of the other segments, in a continuous development of each area.
And how do you see Paolo Vaccari in this project?
I have been "studying" for this moment for many years and I have an immeasurable desire to try. Today.
My role must be that of coordinator. All my experiences, as a player, as an entrepreneur, as an operative within the Federation and today, also as a director of Istituto per il Credito Sportivo (the Italian public bank for the public investments in sport), have enriched me.
The idea of Rugby2030 stems from the desire to set up a program that goes beyond the individual, beyond the mandate of a President, but which is the setting of a new model with clear, transparent and measurable objectives.
To do this, I am gathering various professionals around this project, together with all the representatives of the movement who will want to engage in a new season of growth.
Thanks Paolo and see you next chat, always on Rugby2030.