Skip to main content

"Passion, knowledge, discipline and cooperation can never be lacking"

sdghjfdhj

05/08/2021

When it comes to being the center of a football club's operations, nothing beats a sporting director.

From arranging the squads to bringing best professionals possible, sporting directors play a crucial part in any club's success.

Domenico Teti is an experienced football professional, having worked all the way from academy directorship to sporting directorship.

He started his career at AC Pro Sesto (2003-2005) and then served at the development department of Hellas Verona FC from 2005 to 2007. The next four years, he was the technical director of FC Lugano in Switzerland, before returning to Italy and UC Sampdoria from 2011 to 2013, where he was responsible for the technical department. Between 2014-2018, he was the sporting director of Novara Calcio. Finally, he was the sporting director of Apoel FC between 2018-2020, where he won the championship with the club and reached Europa League last 32.

Teti also holds a law degree, a Master’s in Sport Organization, as well as a professional diploma of Sporting Director from Coverciano, the specialized school of the Italian Football Federation, which is considered the best in its field. 

We talked with Teti the most important aspects of football administration, starting with the administrative causes of Italy's success in Euros.

 

Arda Alan Işık:

Starting with a very recent event: How do you see the Italian national team’s journey from the bottom point of 2018 to Euro 2020 Championship? 

Domenico Teti:

It was a great success and the disappointment of the World Cup 2018 taught us that sometimes we need to find new ideas and make extra effort to come back stronger. The team showed personality, character, spirit and balance, beyond the individual names, the strength was really the team. Roberto Mancini has re-founded a group by regenerating their self-confidence, it was a process started three years ago and involved a new generation of talents, of emerging players flanked by experienced players such as Chiellini and Bonucci.  

Arda Alan Işık:

What was the organizational, administrative shift that caused this change?  

Domenico Teti:

The cooperation between all the departments involved. The work of the Federation and clubs but of course Roberto Mancini, his staff and all players called for the Euro. There was cooperation since long time during last three years and the team arrived at Euro 2020 ready to compete for the highest level. Roberto Mancini has taken into consideration and followed modern European football by linking concrete results with a more attractive style of football. He built the team by paying attention to experienced players as well as to a new generation of talents. Added to that, he has given attention not only on players but on people, you could understand it because everyone was involved on the project no matter how many minutes played.  

Arda Alan Işık:

How do you interpret this process? 

Domenico Teti:

As the result of football ideas, discipline and hard work.  

This team has shown that there are paths to be taken to reach high levels. We have examples like Chiesa or Donnarumma who started playing in Serie A at the age of 18 and other examples which show that sometimes we can reach the highest levels even starting from far away. If we think only about the Italian midfield, players like Verratti, Barella and Jorginho have had different stories but all of them united by a path of growth and sacrifice. Verratti started his career in Second division and then joined PSG, he won the Championship, played the Champions League and today he is a Euro 2020 champion. It was an even more difficult path for Barella and Jorginho, as started their career from the Italian third division and season by season have climbed the categories by reaching Serie A and European competitions with clubs such as Chelsea and Inter. Today they are Euro champions.

There are other examples of players who began their careers in the lower categories such as Immobile, Di Lorenzo, Spinazzola and Insigne, who started in the third division. I emphasize this because, beyond theory, it is the demonstration on the pitch that players can grow and improve at every age. It is a good lesson also for the clubs. No doubt that the scouting and the research of the right players' characteristics is very important, but then the ability of the whole technical department is to recognize and increase the individual skills of each player. 

Arda Alan Işık:

2-) Following these examples, what would you say are today’s norms in football administration? 

Domenico Teti:

Passion, knowledge, discipline and cooperation can never be lacking. It is important to build health values on the whole technical department by signing coaches and players who can really recognize the principles we believe in.

First of all, I would say commitment and spirit of collaboration because achieving results is about team work by having common guidelines. 

Experience and perception of talent are important for the players' scouting, but nowadays we need to be well organized, and the managerial aspect is crucial. We need knowledge and a specific way of working, method, organization and a common vision. 

The club is responsible for strategy, of course the goal is winning games but results are the consequence of scouting, signing, training, progressing and improving players and team’s performances. The question is not only about how good a player is, but it really is about how the player fits in the philosophy and the coaching style, how much we are able through our whole structure to improve players. To do that players’ personality and mentality are priorities. 

Arda Alan Işık: 

What are the must-do’s of being a sporting director in a football club?  

Domenico Teti:

The sporting director is in charge to develop and supervise the evolution of the technical department by delivering results and by managing and supporting different groups of working. We support the coach and the technical staff, we develop scouting, football market and growth of young talents. We manage the scouting department by creating method and criteria, by creating football network and relationships all over the world. It requires knowledge of the football mechanism and ability to manage the transfer market to create value for the team and a sustainable model for the club to find balance between sporting results and financial results. The modern challenge is to link up first team and academy to periodically produce homegrown players able to play in first team. 

Arda Alan Işık: 

What would you advise to young football professionals who want to work as sporting directors? 

Domenico Teti:

There are many ways to develop the sporting direction philosophy, every country has his own traditions and we need to respect the culture of the country. It is important to know teams, coaching style, young players end experienced players, to know as many football markets as possible and compare continuously different championships and teams, it is important to build relationships and connections, to follow games and trainings, to develop method of working inside the department and to know and compare football management examples in many different countries. To be on step in relation to new technologies and managing of big data which nowadays give us support. More knowledge we have and more we can minimize risks that in football are daily present.  

For instance, scouting through data is increasing daily and after Wyscout innovation we now use many tools.

With my staff we started using Comparisonator tool to watch players and teams deeply and from a different point of view. To quickly compare players to generate and share explanatory reports and graphics in a while. This fast production of data is helpful for our work, thanks to Tarkan Batgün and Comparisonator team who developed such a good assistant.

Arda Alan Işık: 

3-) How linked is a sporting director in talent development? How do you help organize the talent development processes? How do you maximize the talent production? 

Domenico Teti:

It is possible to be competitive by also giving opportunities to young players. The strategic vision of the youth development must be part of the club business model. If this is not clear, then it is difficult to collect results. First team coach is the one who opens the door for young players when they are ready. To have homegrown players raised in our club it is important to create a common vision in relation to the philosophy but also to connect people and methodology of working by keeping in touch with the administrators of the first team and administrators of the academy so that going from academy to first team is a transition. We need to take care of the individual development of the player technically, physically, tactically but also mentally and socially by taking care of the person to develop the right mentality especially at younger age. 

Arda Alan Işık:

4-) Do you think there will be a higher number of talent-developer clubs (like SC Freiburg, U.S. Sassuolo Calcio, Altınordu FK) in the future?  Do you think they offer an alternative financial route opposed to mega-rich clubs or projects like European Super League? 

Domenico Teti:

Nowadays there are great examples of talent developer clubs also in Europe and not only as usual in a few South America football countries. The tendency is to reach results by playing with a few talents as a starting eleven. Of course, the percentage of the presence of young players will be different and richest clubs’ numbers will not be so impressive like other clubs, which have this as a main philosophy. In the end it depends on clubs to well prepare their young talents and decide the timing to give them chance.