Sunday March 1 2020
Serie A crisis of our own making

The Coronavirus crisis has brought the worst out of Serie A and all Italian organisations, as Susy Campanale urges everyone to just accept what needs to be done.

Serie A remains a long way behind the Premier League and La Liga because it is run in much the same way as every other Italian organisation: badly and with consistent inconsistency. Logic goes out the window, decisions are announced by one authority, changed by another, final verdicts are given at the last minute and it’s impossible to prepare for any of these eventualities. Who would be so foolish as to plan a trip to a Serie A match when you have no guarantee even a week beforehand that it’ll be played on the date you booked the flights and hotel? That’s not even the Coronavirus effect, that’s just a normal season.

The Coronavirus outbreak has inevitably brought the absolute worst out of people and institutions in Italy. At a time when we ought to come together for the common good, we tear everything to pieces bickering about who gets even the tiniest benefit or disadvantage from a situation that is out of our control. It’s shameful and pitiful to see Presidents and directors happy to throw the entire season into disarray because of their petulant refusal to do what is necessary rather than what they’d prefer.

There are only so many dates in a packed fixture list, especially with Euro 2020 coming up and for once thank goodness several Italian clubs still involved in European competition. So naturally we need to ruin all of that with our usual chaotic response fuelled entirely by paranoia and selfishness.

So many mistakes were made and they just cascaded, a disaster domino effect. Last week, Inter-Sampdoria, Atalanta-Sassuolo, Verona-Cagliari and Torino-Parma should’ve been played behind closed doors. It was evident already that the Coronavirus was going to spread rapidly, and the situation would not be resolved in a week. They should’ve just sucked it up and accepted this was necessary, just as Inter did in the Europa League with Ludogorets only a couple of days earlier.

That created an even tighter squeeze on the already-crammed calendar, particularly for Inter. Juventus-Inter should’ve been played behind closed doors, or at least treated differently from the other fixtures. I don’t care what you say about a precedent, the Derby d’Italia without fans is not the same as Sassuolo-Brescia in an empty stadium. This is a product as well, so having that played in silence at the same time as Real Madrid-Barcelona would’ve been damaging to the image of Serie A. Maybe not as damaging as the absolute chaos we’re going through now, but still damaging.

The complete lack of logic in some of these decisions damaged any credibility they still had. Atalanta and Bologna fans can travel from their Coronavirus hotspot areas to Lecce and Lazio games without any restriction, but a few days later fans from those same areas are banned from travelling to the Coppa Italia semi-final. It makes no sense whatsoever. It would’ve been logical enough to just say don’t travel from the affected areas, but the Government and Lega Serie A managed to get that wrong too.

Only in Italy are they still so obsessed about the idea of playing games simultaneously to ensure fairness. The Premier League often has tables organised with a game or even two in hand, it’s not considered unfair. Titles have been decided with teams sitting at home with their feet up watching their opponents drop points on TV. Nobody makes such a drama out of it. It’s particularly stupid to claim the entire Serie A round should’ve been postponed when Juventus-Inter was always meant to be over 24 hours after Lazio beat Bologna to go top of the table. Football has changed, the fixtures are spread out and we are all used to it by now, including the teams. Get over it and for crying out loud stop saying ‘campionato falsato.’ If you can’t perform because your rival has already played, then you are weak mentally and should take the blame for that.

Speaking of being mentally weak, how hard is it to understand that all of these restrictions are to prevent the virus spreading? Juve-Inter could’ve been postponed to Monday because the Government decree restricting public events expired on Sunday night. It was renewed in the areas where there are significantly more cases and they are continuing to grow, Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna. Piedmont restrictions are lifted because there were 11 cases last week and they have not increased, so the spread is under control. It does not mean Coronavirus has been ‘cured,’ it’s just a different step in the process. It is not ‘territorial discrimination’ to ban fans travelling from the worst-affected areas, it is common sense.

So what happens now? If everyone refuses to play behind closed doors, do we just scrap the entire season? Only allow in people wearing hazmat suits? Can you imagine if Lazio are top of the table for the first time in 20 years and the whole campaign is just wiped out? Claudio Lotito would sue the Lega Serie A through every conceivable jurisdiction and he’d be right to do so.

What we need is for everyone to act like adults for once rather than jealous siblings who sit there whining that ‘he did it first’ or ‘but she’s got that toy, so now I have to get one too!’ Show some responsibility for something far bigger than football and do what needs doing.

Have your say...
Lets be honest, Inter directors just want to play Juve - Inter without fans because they are cowards. No doubt they would be crying and trying to postpone this game if it had to be played at the San Siro. They dont care about the virus, just simple tricks to get an advantage for the Scudetto decider. Shame on them.
on the 5th March, 2020 at 12:05pm
2. I still can't see why my original post offended you so much to unleash this fury...
But, don't really care now you're DEFINITELY on my dislike list! :)

(I also feel you work for FI, as it takes our posts 5 hours to get published, & you replied in like 20 minutes... Lots of ONLY Juve/ Milan/ Inter fans here...)

JoeV3ntus, my thoughts exactly --no one talks about players! Even closed Stadiums have hundreds of people working.
+ It only takes one sick player to take out the whole group!
on the 5th March, 2020 at 3:10am
1. Listen Zoli,

Take a few days... come back, and read your post dedicated to me.
There is not an ounce of respect towards me, except calling me Mr., which I know was intended as provocation.

When someone is asking you questions like you did in real life, you should punch him in the face..!

You think I'm going to spar with you over something not-football related??
('Cause it feels you're dying to throw China & Trump into this...)
I'm sure you're "Internet expert" on "COVID-19". ;)
on the 5th March, 2020 at 2:45am
Totti fella, when someone is asking you a question you should answer it.
It is called mutual respect, something that along with other notions beyond your comprehension should be part of an intelligent adult conversation.
But don’t lose hope. Sometimes patience, time and maturity does help to come to terms with one’s obvious shortcomings.
on the 5th March, 2020 at 12:35am
Zoli, don't make me put you on my dislike list :)

You know well I wrote my post BEFORE; when situation in Italy wasn't this dire!
(Authorities even wanted to play Coppa games WITH PUBLIC mid-week! Surely, "they" know more than you & me...)

I put "communism" & "flu" in quotation marks, dummy.

Pretty sure if something contagious & DANGEROUS spreads --FOOTBALL STOPS! No fans, no players, no nothing!
(I don't know what happens if aliens come.)

(...Lazio goes first & all Hell breaks on Earth...)
on the 4th March, 2020 at 10:51pm
@I miss Luciano Moggi at Juventus: Last i recall, inter fans had the honor of watching Juventus Smoke inter at San Siro 2-1 so it's only fair that Juventus fans get the pleasure of watching their home team smoke inter again at Allianz ! i mean after all, it's fair right ????
on the 4th March, 2020 at 8:42pm
Nobody seems to be talking about the possibility of the players themselves getting infected. This will lead to the indefinite suspension of the league. And then what? Maybe "assign" the fake plastic trophy to Inter!!!
on the 4th March, 2020 at 8:19pm
Listen Mr. “United States of Totti”

Let me rock your high pedestal a bit before you try to lecture us with another decree-like post belch and kindly ask you to:
- learn what communism is just so you realize how irrelevant (to put it very mildly) your comparison is
- at least somewhat familiarize yourself with strategies/protocols for mitigating/containing an infectious pandemic (WHO, CDC)
- tell me who is the “they” who are not telling us about COVID-19 (not a “flu”, btw) and why
on the 4th March, 2020 at 6:03pm
Italy has an outbreak of critical proportions. mistakes that happen in last rounds are done. play all the league games going forward behind close doors. it is as simple as this. it is a life and death situation. that is why the infections are spreading because people are gathering. they need to play all the games behind clothes doors for a month. what good is tv money if you're dead. protect the players and protect the fans. play the games behind close doors. stop the spread of the virus
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 8:06pm
Some of you are way off:

Why should ALL teams play behind closed doors, when only some are affected??

Why should "South" close stadiums, refund all season tickets & lose money??
This is no joke. This is no "communism".

--Otherwise, let's make whole Europe play without fans in CL/ EL so it will be fair to Juve, Atalanta, Inter!

But, it seems there's something seriously wrong with this new virus they are not telling us...
Why else would they be affraid of a "flu"??
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 3:56pm
@ Luca - Wrong, and you know you are wrong with that straw man argument. Inter have played and will continue to play behind closed doors if required as they did in EL. Juvirus will not because of the $$$ involved. Do try to keep upand stick to the known facts.
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 2:02pm
I agree with "who me yes you"
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 1:01pm
So basically what the Inter fans seem to be saying is they were relying on playing Juve without any fans to win the league, otherwise they have no chance. Pathetic
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 12:57pm
Now, the CONI President is acting like Father Ted - 'you are not impressing anyone with that behaviour', to the clubs that have complained about about the blatant unfairness the league tried to enact. It is simple - games continue as scheduled behind closed door if necessary.
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 12:20pm
The WHOLE World..,
EVERYONE in Spain, Slovenia, "United States of Totti"..,
Every Milanista, Romanista, "Real Madridista"...
RATHER wanted this game to be played on MONDAY --WITH FANS!!!

...That would be ruined without whistles to Conte ;)

Though, my opinion is:
Juve with fans probably wins.
Juve without fans probably loses.
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 12:36am
Also - by cancelling the game after announcing closed doors - inter and every other club now can refuse to lose home crowd/gate receipts. So either full crowd or cancelled games.. If anymore games get cancelled, will there be time to finish the league? What happens then? We don't want to bring up corruption, but the league has obviously shot itself in the foot here with the knock on effects from deciding the change its decision around postponing to cancelling at juve's request..
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 12:30am
everyone missing the point - juve would have lost out with no crowd and no gate receipts. So the league apparently proposed to inter that the game would be postponed 1 day.. Which Juve fans were allowed to attend. So from no fans to only juve fans. So juve get gate receipts AND a completely hostile environment.. so from Juve losing to the league wanting to change it to juve basically being given the game. What makes them so special?
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 12:27am
It takes unbiased Romanista to calm you...
(I dislike you both EQUALLY :) )

Juve fans,
Only JUVE could achieve for this game to either be pushed so fans would attend, or not be played at all...
As always, you are FAVOURED.
And, as always, blind to see it...

Inter fans,
Game was pushed to A DAY later! Why not play it then?
Because you wanted to use this misfortunate event & gain advantage over Juve.
Not noble of you.
(Who cares about your "fan-less" EL game with L.!)
on the 3rd March, 2020 at 12:21am
"If you can’t perform because your rival has already played, then you are weak mentally."

--It's not a problem trailing a game...
But two, three, FOUR??
That's already disrupted Championship!!!
It's uneven & unfair --imagine knowing you need to win next 4 games to be equal on points with your opponent??
Of course, if your opponent underperforms in those games, it motivates you & now isn't fair on them!

Not to mention some teams playing with audience & some without!
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 11:49pm
Interisti have always had the virus of complaining.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 9:48pm
this is crazy... if theres an outbreak epidemic going on they need to halt entire season,and if necessary push back CL and EUROs. China should be held responsible for this mess and what could be end of world...rise of the planet of the Apes.
no doubt the chaos throws off the season for Inter mainly,and the fans of calcio.BUT the most important thing is safety of entire country of Italy.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 9:02pm
i don't see why the games are simply played at the clubs training grounds where the conditions can be controlled to minimise the potential of infection. on the other hand if postponing hell cancelling games is a effective means of preventing spending infection than do it football means nothing in reference to the safety and well being of society. Honestly there are bigger priorities in this world
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 7:08pm
So lets get things straight, first they announce the match will be played in closed doors just like in the EL against Ludogorets days before the actual match. Nobody complain but Juve who wants fans to attend even though there's an outbreak in the region. Then in less than 48 hours before the actual match then its cancelled all together and to complete Juve's wish of playing with fans they'll play the coppa italia on the same stadium just days after postponing the derby.This is what's called BS
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 4:15pm
It's really rather simple. Either:
1) Play ALL games behind closed doors until it is safe to open them;
2) Play ALL games as normal, with crowds;
3) Cancel ALL games until it is safe to play them.
It is fairly obvious that option 1) is the only logical and fair way of managing this - biological viruses don't adhere to regional borders within, or between, countries! There can't be one rule for one game and one for another.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 4:13pm
I was against playing with closed doors, it simply isn't fair to the home team. In fact it's treated as a punishment. The home field advantage, plus the revenues are taken away. For Inter V Juve this is a showcase game for the league & would of been terrible visuals for a league trying to grow TV internationally.

As to the article's point,I don't get is the handling of the whole virus situation by the government. If Turin is such a risk to play, why is Ronaldo allowed to travel to Spain.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 2:40pm
@to all Juve dumb "you put what you like"... nobody said Juve spread the virus, nobody! Except brainless people like @Max to distort the main issue. For the ones who haven't understood yet... WHY the hell, the match was cancelled when It was scheduled to play behind closed doors?!... elaborate us and don't bring that "Public Safety" bull in the table again!
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 2:40pm
2) Liverpool had a slight moan and then found a solution and got on with it. For years Prem teams have played 3 or 4 fixtures over 10 days around the Christmas period and again they just get on with it. Inter MIGHT have to play 3 games in 7 days and they cry as if they cn't possibly win the league because of this. Just get on with it and play the games. Or would they rather spread the virus to more people just so there game can be played now. The entire thing has been managed awfully
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 2:36pm
1) As a general fan of Serie A without any real allegiances (My Grandfather and unlce are huge Inter fans, my other Uncle and Cousin are huge Juve fans) I find this all baffling. So what if the game got re-scheduled to a date when the fans will be able to attend? If Inter are that good just go and win the game at the Juve stadium in front of their fans. Liverpool played 2 extra cup competitions than Inter and have got on with it despite a packed schedule
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 2:33pm
@Max: you either don`t know the facts or you`re trying to fool us here. The day juBentus learned Handanovic is back training with the ball (Friday), they took action and postponed the match instead of playing it. It seems their influence is so big that nobody cares about the consequences any more, as long as it serves the Agnelli family. They decided against playing with closed doors as advised by the Government, so they should take responsibility for what is going to follow. Lega Calcio = JOKE!
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:36pm
"Who would be so foolish as to plan a trip to a Serie A match when you have no guarantee even a week beforehand that it’ll be played on the date you booked the flights and hotel?" There are many, especially for the Derby. So you are actually throwing salt on traveling fans` wounds. "I don`t care what you say" sounds like a spoiled girl. Susy, wake up - every club should be treated equally from the organizers` perspective. Matches should have been played behind closed doors but Agnelli said no.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:22pm

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