The sports ownership sector has been growing at a great rate since the mid-1990s when the professional English league underwent a massive overhaul with the development of the Premier League. While opinion is split about which is the best league in the world, the English Premier League is undoubtedly the richest. In the past, the ownership model for European soccer clubs was largely dominated by local owners of teams looking to give back their local community. However, the purchase of London’s Chelsea by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich led the way for new owners, such as Watford F.C.’s Gino Pozzo to enter the fray.
The Pozzo family have a long link to soccer around Europe starting with the family patriarch, Gianpaolo purchasing the local Italian club, Udinese in 1986. The decision of Gianpaolo to buy Udinese was largely taken from the heart as he had watched the club slide into financial difficulties and hoped to return them to glory. The success achieved at Udinese inspired the Pozzo family to continue to invest in soccer teams across Europe and eventually led them to purchase then struggling Watford in 2012.
Gino Pozzo is seen as the mastermind behind a new way of working at soccer clubs with the ambition to break into European competition but sit just outside the top tier in their home nation. The son of Gianpaolo Pozzo believes the rise of Watford to the riches of the Premier League in just three seasons is a sign of the burgeoning success being achieved at the club that sits on the outskirts of the English capital. Determined to do things his own way, Gino Pozzo believes Watford are vital to the success his family is hoping to achieve in soccer ownership and went so far as to move his family to London to take control of the club.