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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.

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Have your say...
It’s quite funny to read writer’s sturdiness of own arguments throughout the piece, to fall for the argument of “product” i.e money.

Anyway, she’s right when she says - They (Juve directors, who caused the main fuss in the first place, edit) should’ve just sucked it up and accepted this was necessary.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 2:04pm
WOW. Just wow to the level of corruption and incompetencies in Italian football.

I have a challenge for Juventus; How about wining the Seria A(gneli) one year without bribery, corruption and cheating? Just for a change.

Or are you afraid of real competition?

It is too easy when you make your worst competitor play three crucial matches in 7 days.

I bet football-Italia won't accpet this post, as it is not a Juve fan mail.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:36pm
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 12:43pm
Inter refused to play the game on Monday night. The reasons they provided are fairly pathetic to say the least. One of the reasons Inter offered up....They say they were concerned that the tv company might be upset. Lol you couldnt even make this *stuff* up.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 12:38pm
Play all games behind closed doors - simple. Oh sorry I forgot Juvirus dont want to lose the gate receipts. They have to pay CR7s EUR 20m slary, while Jeep pay EUR 20m more through 'sponsorship', or is it only Man City who do that?
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 12:00pm
Wow, so there are actually fans out there believing Juventus orchestrated all this (=the mess that is Corona, and its consequences for Serie A)? I know, as a Juventino I'm biased like every fan of every club out there, but seriously... this is getting ridiculous.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 9:57am
a beg to laugh at inter fans still complaining about referees. there is VAR in place and they are still complaining. inter mgmt. is bitter as can be. it seems like only marotta and inter are causing the confusion. the derby italia is the biggest game in Italy. how could that play behind closed doors. that is an advert of the Italian game. inter fans are miserable. they are even saying juve caused the corona virus. once there is a direct threat all games should be played behind closed doors now
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 9:14am
sorry but, why did the serie a made a fixture list for everyone? why? to play accordingly, so why in the world do we need to postpone the derby d'italia? because there are no fans, so what? why postpone it to monday and play the coppa also? are you guys kidding me? the lega especially the president is a joke, because he now starts pointing his finger towards inter. are you kidding me? the president of the league?
guys, please wake up and realise that this wouldn't have happened if the derby...
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 8:41am
It is frustrating that the Lega and clubs can’t work together on this. It is an extraordinary situation and it requires maturity and cooperation to deal with it.
Comments below that Juventus are ‘orchestrating’ the situation are risible and infantile.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 8:01am
@Ravanelli

If this has helped anyone its Inter. Juventus would much rather play Inter without Handanovic on the field especially given the alternatives have struggled and Inter's own incompetence at a directors level didnt see them sign a replacement when given the opportunity. They should thank the stars for saving them from themselves yet they look to complain because they're in the europa league? Pathetic. This is the mindset of the born-loser.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 7:00am
@Ravanelli
Napoli are not complaining.

The games should be played as normal, with fans.
If people are nervous about attending because of the virus, then they dont go to the game.

Typical Italian authorities reactionary chaostc response.

Although the idea that Juventus introduced the virus to the country in order to destroy the season has a 99% ptobability of being true.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:25am
I understand the frustration of Interisti. An unknown factor has provided them a massive opportunity to play their fierce rival at their home without fans. Their coach especially was happy since there was no chance he would be abused by Juventini. Suddenly luck was going to favor them. They almost had it.... and then the match postponed. So funny.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:05am
@ FOMO AND MAX, why was the Juve Inter game not allowed without any fans? Who was being protected? How is it viable to allow fans the next night? The pressure was coming from the ones who benefit. Look at major crimes, follow the money. SO follow the money. Juve are in disarray and would lose the game and money. Of course they will tell the federation to move the game. Of course the federation would do their bidding.
on the 2nd March, 2020 at 1:02am
@ Both anonymous.

You both sound like you work high up in the Italian government.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 11:21pm
@annonymous,

you're suggesting Juventus has orchestrated the coronavirus?

wow.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 11:11pm
So this blog is basically aimed at Inter and Napoli and some of the paranoid fans. I haven't seen anyone else complaining.

Lazio are happy. Juve didn't mind because honestly it would have been a disadvantage to them to play without fans on their own turf. Inter did get the short end of the stick. But to suggest that this was part of a big conspiracy is just pathetic. This is just your basic incompetent Italian government.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 11:10pm
Juve are orchestrating this whole debacle because they are in disarray and don't want anyone else to have the title. End the season now and award the Scudetto to Lazio.
on the 1st March, 2020 at 11:08pm
That is the most baseless article i see in a while. So you believe that inter should agree to play 3 season pivotal games in 7 days just because juve didnt want to play ,like all other teams, without fans.Really ? In a season that many of questionable referries decisions came in favor of juve or even lazio in a smaller degree this so called sollution fits only one team in my eyes
on the 1st March, 2020 at 10:57pm

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