AC Milan chief Ivan Gazidis: Male-dominated football cannot ignore domestic violence

Following several accusations of domestic violence in the English Premier League, including against Manchester United and England star Mason GreenwoodGazidis says football needs to challenge the male-dominated culture of the game and be proactive in addressing social issues.

“I think we can do a lot more,” Gazidis told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

“We can’t ignore the kinds of problems that we see. You know, I’m very vocal when we have problems that we need to deal with, we have to acknowledge them, because that’s the only way we can find solutions. .”

Gazidis, 57, also believes the sport has a diversity problem that needs to be addressed at the top level.

“I think football, in many ways, reflects societal issues. But it also has the ability to lead thinking in a variety of areas and provide better examples,” he said.

“One of the challenges of football is that it’s very male dominated. We always see that in managerial positions across the game. And that’s both in positions on the pitch, I mean there, the technical teams, but also outside the field.

“People like me, general managers and senior executives. So I think we would be advantaged in many ways in football to have a more diverse environment.”

Last month Italy’s Supreme Court upheld the sentencing of former Brazil and AC Milan striker Robinho, who now lives in Brazil and played for the club before Gazidis arrived, to nine years in prison for his involvement in a gang rape in 2013, according to Reuters.

Robinho’s lawyer, Franco Moretti, told Reuters the verdict was “deeply unjust”.

In recent years, Italian Serie A players displayed red marks on their cheeks to help raise awareness about domestic violence. They also took to social media with the hashtag #unrossoallaviolenza (a red card to violence).

Gazidis became CEO of AC Milan, which has won 18 Italian league titles, in 2018 after being CEO of Arsenal in the English Premier League for nearly 10 years.

He says he and AC Milan have helped pave the way for promoting this environment with the European Club Association.

“We introduced concepts of diversity, inclusion and equity,” Gazidis said.

“And I think challenging male dominance, the cultural environment of football is an important part of that, to better understand the problem and have better ideas to try to solve it.”

He added: “It’s not just this issue of domestic violence and domestic abuse, we see a lot of issues across the game that need to be addressed. And you need to be proactive and recognize what the issues are before you can really take action.”


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