Serie A: the False Start!
By Marco Fumagalli
Serie A is ready to start! Oh wait… what? There has been 2 weeks of Serie A already?! It must be a joke!
August in Italy is the month of holidays, for everyone! The factories are shut down and so are the offices, the cities are ghost towns and are conquered by tourists who dare dealing with the heat between concrete, asphalt and roman pavements; Italians are at the beach, enjoying the most stereotypical dolce vita Italian summer.
There used to be a time when Serie A teams were playing only useless friendly games against local teams at the seaside throughout the summer between tanning and a slice of watermelon. The entire nation was numb until the first two weeks of September when slowly the cities were getting populated again, factories and offices were opening again, teachers were getting ready for another school year and Serie A was just about to begin, after the end of the transfer market.
Nowadays the Serie A calendar has changed and Italians are struggling with the dichotomy football-holidays which is against nature for them; Juventus, Milan and Inter play each other several times during August in made up Cups and Competitions, the qualification rounds of the European Cups are “bothering” the supporters who have to gather in the bars on the beach while hoping that the season won’t get spoiled between a granite and an icicle.
Scheduling 2 Serie A games in the middle of August, before the end of the transfer market and while no supporters are in town is a capitalistic attack towards Italian customs and traditions! To be honest most people don’t even care about these first 2 matches as holidays are meant to be different from the rest of the year; people need a break from the rest of their normal life and perhaps are still finishing digesting the previous football season and it’s too early to kickoff a new one. Not even fantasy football begins in August and everyone waits for September, when the transfer market is over.
Yes the transfer market: here are the bizzare scenarios seen these recent years:
* Player X from Team A played in August against Team B; he was later sold to Team C who will play Team B in September and encounter Team B again in 2 weeks!
* Player Y from Team A is loaned to Team D; Team D will play Team A in September and the loaned player will play against his “owner”.
* Player Z is co-owned by Team A and Team B but after the first two games is sent on loan to Team D; Player Z played with Team A against Team B in August; he will play with Team D in September against Team A and Team B.
On top of this, the National team interrupts the calendar for two weeks.
These Serie A matches scheduled in August are like a false start. The teams are not ready, players are still being transferred and supporters are not around!
Can we go back to what made sense for an entire century please?!
I’m back in town now, schools are still closed but the kids are back to playing football in the streets, the streets are full of life, tanned citizens are on their way to work this sunny morning in Milano and I can see the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium there in San Siro in the distance from my house.
Forget about what happened last month!
I am ready now, Italy is ready now! Time to kickoff!