Serie A weighing a unique solution to finish 2019/20 season
15 April 2020 —
The Italian Football Federation (Federazione Italian di Gioco di Calcio “FIGC”), the national association that oversees the game in Italy, held a meeting on March 10. At that time, the body confirmed it was considering the option of holding playoffs to decide the champion and relegated teams. Other possibilities included declaring the current standings as final or not declaring a champion at all.
Among ideas on how to finish the suspended season in Europe, the Italian also have come up with an out-of-the-box idea. Serie A, the Italian first division, is considering the possibility of playing all the remaining games of the 2019/20 season in Rome, according to newspaper La Repubblica.
The FIGC is reportedly working on a revised calendar in a radical bid to finish a campaign deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Play has been suspended since March and stakeholders are apparently trying to find a solution to resuming matches without having to also affect the 2020/21 campaign. There are twelve rounds remaining in this season, but eight Serie A teams have 13 matches remaining.
Part of those plans are said to include moving all of Serie A’s 20 teams to Rome, with training sessions and matches to be played using the capital’s facilities. While no specific venues have been reported, that would definitely mean the Stadio Olimpico, home to AS Roma and Lazio, would be the likely destination.
The president of the Italian football federation, Gabriele Gravina, has said the 2019-20 Serie A campaign could be spread over two seasons in order to bring the league to a conclusion. To do this, the reported idea is to break up the 2019/20 season into two round-robin style competitions, where every team would play each other once in each, with the first taking place later this year before the second beginning at the start of 2021. With fixture congestion a perennial problem in Europe, the 2020/21 season could prove more challenging than most, since next year’s European seasons must be concluded prior to the Euro 2020 competition, which itself was postponed until next summer. Speaking to RAI 1, Gravina said:
“If it isn’t possible to bring the leagues to a conclusion, we will opt for other decisions. It isn’t ruled out that the current season could be spread out over two different seasons. I understand that there is a lot of curiosity, but today nobody is in a position to say what our future holds.”Gabriele Gravina, President, FIGC
To change the Serie A season as this idea suggests, permission would be needed from both UEFA and FIFA, the respective European and global soccer governing bodies. Serie A would also need to find a way to incorporate its calendar into UEFA’s club competition schedules, such as the Champions League and Europa League.
The reported relocation concept is similar to a model last month linked with the Premier League. According to the Independent, English soccer’s top-flight has discussed plans for clubs to finish the coronavirus-impacted 2019/20 season in isolated camps taking place over June and July.
This would see clubs and their staff confined to separate hotels, with full testing and quarantine conditions in a bid to reduce the risk of the virus suspending play once again. All officials, cameramen and broadcast production crews would reportedly be placed in similar conditions.
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