NEWS
Wednesday February 1 2012
FIGC, AIC advocate calendar changes

Both the Italian FA (FIGC) and Footballers’ Association (AIC) are keen to rearrange the fixture list so as to avoid future Serie A postponement chaos.

Heavy snowfall has hit the north of the peninsula this week and has already caused the cancellation of three top-flight matches from Week 21’s midweek round of games.

Tuesday’s match between Parma and Juventus was called off just an hour before kick-off much to the anger of Beppe Marotta and Antonio Conte.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina’s trip to Bologna and Siena’s meeting with Catania have also been called off. The remaining seven games are set to go ahead, but Udinese-Lecce is likely to be played in below freezing temperatures, whilst there are predictions that the chaos caused by the weather could spread to the weekend’s Week 22 games.

Milan have already requested that their Sunday meeting with Napoli be postponed.

Vice-President of the Italian FA Demetrio Albertini [pictured] admitted that the current situation is not one that should be repeated.

“It is the time to change something and we must have the courage to do so,” he declared on Wednesday.

“Almost all the stadiums in Italy are old now, unfit to provide decent accommodation for players or the public in adverse weather conditions.

“Pending their renovation, and it will take years, a viable solution is to start the season in August and possibly expand the winter break, to avoid the coldest period.

“One summer night is certainly more feasible than a unpleasant winter, just see how they follow friendlies in August.”

The former Milan and Italy midfielder continued his point, whilst also responding to those who might criticise such an idea.

“We want to respect the players and the fans, even those that watch a bad game on TV, because it is played on a disgraceful playing surface.

“Some are saying that abroad it is different, but this is not true. Those who say that we cannot predict certain weather conditions, I respond that the winter in the centre-north of the country is unlikely to be mild.

“This situation must change, but without creating division, instead coming to a shared belief with benefits for all.

“Already, for example, during the winter break, many teams travel abroad to heat. We could allow for a longer winter break so as to play the friendlies that would be lost in August.”

This last comment was taken further by President of the Italian Footballers’ Association Damiano Tommasi, who is equally keen to put forward a rearrangement of the fixture list.

“We are certainly experiencing a unique situation from a meteorological perspective,” said the former Roma man.

“But we should definitely review the fixture calendars, perhaps by increasing the number of games played when the climate is better.

“It would safeguard the quality of the show - to play on a frozen pitch or in the fog, is not the best for those who play or care for the sport.

“The numbers speak for themselves - the majority of injuries occur in cold weather.

“[Approval for] the law permitting stadium development goes on for so long, but this is not the only possible solution.”

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