Thursday, August 12, 2004

Italian Football : Shakeout Continues

A few years ago Fiorentina went bankrupt. They folded. Some new owners sunk some cash into a new club Fiorentina Viola and got things rolling in the Serie C-2 in Italy. As things things go, this was due to the league ruling they didn't need a start things off in the Serie D. The new team got promoted to Serie C-1 and then were able to buy a spot in the Serie B. They're back in the Serie A now and back to being just plain old Fiorentina after buying the rights to the old name and colors. So it's ironic that what should've been a warning to other Italian clubs, to keep their financial house in order or they'll go belly up, wasn't heeded. Both Napoli and Ancona were recently denied licenses by the Italian Football Federation to play in the Serie B (the 2nd division) for the season that starts Sept 12th. Surely these clubs realized that they were smaller and less stories than Fiorentina. If they weren't going to be able to meet the financial requirements, the federation wasn't going to give them a license. This is good news for Bari and Pescara since despite relegation they can play in the Serie B again this year. The question remains as to what the the Italian federation, FIGC, will do about the big clubs. They have yet to due much to punish them for falling short of their financial responsibilities. Lazio seems to have been granted a license again for the year despite serious questions over whether or not the club has the finances to make it through the upcoming season. Parma, Lazio, and Roma are all clubs that are barely any better off financially than Ancona and Napoli were. The federation needs to do something before they too go the way of Fiorentina.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Italian Football Delays Serie B Season

Recently the start to the Serie B, the 2nd division in Italy, was delayed until September 12th []. It seems that the authorities in charge of these things are starting to acknowledge that the betting scandals that emerged last spring are not isolated incidents. So far it looks like 33 individuals and 12 clubs have been named as being defendants in the investigation. It'll be interesting how these things shake out with some clubs like Siena having several players and directors looking to have taken part of this. Siena narrowly avoided relegation from the top flight to Serie B last year. And with Gaucci and Perguia's lawsuit still pending, one has to wonder how this may add ammo to his claims that Perguia shouldn't have been relegated. In short, Gaucci's suit alleges that several clubs did not meet the league's financial requirements and therefore should've been relegated []. While many people view Gaucci as a wacko who's pullin' yet another stunt, the man does have a legimate point in this case. Even if the courts don't side with him, it's painfully obvious that between the betting scandal and the loopholes in the rules that seem to favor the big clubs that Italian football needs a big clearout and some new blood brought in. It's sad to see what was once considered the best league in the world not that long ago becoming better known for it's scandals off the field than what happens on it.