13 February 2007

The future of Italian football

Can the Italian leagues be saved? They have had a hell of a year, to be fair -- scandal, scandal, relegation, appeal, World Cup win, scandal, and now this whole situation with the riots at the games. I'm not sure that the entire league is irredeemable, but I do think they need to make some serious changes. I think resuming play the week after was way too soon. Even if you're not letting people into the most dangerous stadia, it doesn't seem like there's been any real attempt at meaningful reform. I know this is a problem in most European leagues -- hell, I'm a Liverpool fan, of course I know that. But it does seem difference in Italian culture, and it'll probably take a lot more than making a few quick changes to the stadia to make any real difference in things. I almost want to see the Italian clubs barred from Europe for this; it took a sanction like that to make the English FA get serious about changing that fan culture. I think that Italian football can be saved, but I'm not sure that the Italian FA is willing to make the changes necessary to do so. They already have declining attendance, but this could be the end of things unless there's some long-term changes made. Beyond, you know, only allowing in season ticket holders.

1 comment:

Jones said...

It seems like when these things happen everyone leaps to declare how horrible it is and how things need to change right away, but in the end it's really just a bunch of handwringing. I'm not an expert on Italian football, but it's no secret that the ultras have been allowed a crazy amount of power and influence at various clubs, and I think when it's at that level, it's particularly hard for the clubs to suddenly turn around and make a serious stand on things. And I get the sense that for the most part, they don't want to have to do anything to make real changes, even now after someone has died.

I'm interested to see how things will proceed though. Germany is also having serious problems with violence right now, although only in the lower leagues. All games in Saxony (latest scene of rioting) are postponed at the moment, but they haven't decided yet on whether they're going to actually close stadiums and so on in the longer term.