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Serie A in the time of Coronavirus

Who really pays the consequences of the matches behind closed doors between fans, clubs, players and sponsors.

Serie A in the time of Coronavirus Who really pays the consequences of the matches behind closed doors between fans, clubs, players and sponsors.

After the scientific and technical committee wanted by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the minister of sport Spadafora assessed which could be the best solution to deal with the virus that is affecting the Bel Paese, the Football Federation officialized what everyone now expected:

"Taking into account the provisions issued and the further indications received by the Government to deal with the Coronavirus emergency and safeguard public health, in order to avoid the interruption of the sports competition, as well as to ensure its development and allow its conclusion, the FIGC has ordered with a specific provision, until further determination, that all matches organized by the Serie A League be played behind closed doors".

The decision - right or wrong that it is - has set up a series of chain reactions that could penalize or benefit each of the bodies involved: on the one hand there are sports dynamics, so teams like Lazio or Atalanta, which make the double when they play at home driven by the euphoria of their fans, they may suffer from playing behind closed doors; others such as Juve and Milan who instead need to find peace of mind in the game choices and would probably be able to recover the necessary serenity without being influenced by any whistling of the fans. On the one hand, the subscribers, who probably will not see the percentage paid at the beginning of the year reimbursed - but it is a speech that varies according to the contract that the fan has signed with the club - on the other, fans from all over the world who for next month they will perceive through TV an even more bleak image of our football, an already poor product that would risk losing even more value without the presence of a little folklore in the stands.

This is an unprecedented situation, a force majeure event that has panicked any body responsible for making decisions. Nobody wants to take responsibility for saying "play" but at the same time everyone wants to protect their health (physical and economic).

Science has therefore thought of bringing the greedy masters of football back to earth, lost in fighting to defend their interests while intent on tackling the biggest health emergency of the last 70 years. The most obvious problem, in addition to the virus itself, is one of the most frequent in our country: everyone does their own interests without assessing the repercussions of the choices made.

It is a speech that is valid both within the Lega Calcio, where the different corporate choices are influenced by the position in the standings and by a more or less favorable calendar between now and the end of the season (with consequent protests by all those who do not they think in the same way, see case Zhang), that within the federal bodies, where the most obvious choice was to safeguard the health of the population, giving rise to the discontent of those companies that, alas, must also look at the economic balance sheets.

A position that has the merit of putting the Lega Calcio and the presidents of Serie A with their backs to the wall: either you decide to play or you say goodbye to the championship until next season, there is no middle ground.

The decision to make was so obvious that probably the League, personified by Paolo dal Pino, wanted to seek an alternative solution by sinning with pride, instead of following the wave of all the other sports that had decided to block the entrances to the sports facilities, not caring about the corporate relief. A decision probably dictated by an unmotivated optimism on the duration of the emergency that led to the idea of being able to play the scudetto clash between the bianconeri and the nerazzurri shortly, without considering that in the meantime the government was making drastic decisions, such as school closings, to avoid the mass diffusion of COV-19.

While tourism is on its knees, the premises are empty and companies are forced to leave employees at home, the ball thinks it can incredibly get out of the crisis. With people locked in the house, forced not to be able to go out into the red areas, football should have carried out its main function: the social one. The matches broadcast on the air on television would have represented an important moment of leisure and 90 minutes of return to normal, keeping millions of fans glued to the sofa, helping to halve the chances of contagion.

Unfortunately, the health emergency will not end soon: if football does not realize it, in Italy you will no longer see a ball rolling for months. And, at that point, it is not just the usual fans who will lose out.