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The coronavirus outbreak started as a little epidemic but has now become a full-blown crisis globally. The football and sporting world isn’t left out and many competitions have come to a halt as it stands.
The likes of the Swiss Football League have already gone through temporary breaks and this trend has threatened to follow suit over Europe.
The latest league to suffer a setback in the coronavirus outbreak is the Serie A. After an initial postponement of games and a whole lot more played behind closed doors, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced yesterday that the Serie A and all other sporting activities in the country will be suspended until April, 3.
The country was also put on lock-down and people can only travel for emergencies or unavoidable work commitments.
With about three to four game-weeks now set to be outstanding after the suspension, what are the possible implications this may bring to the current Serie A season? According to multiple Italian media sources, there are now four possible scenarios after the ban.
Postponing the Euro 2020
The Serie A can’t influence this decision solely, but with games in other UEFA domestic leagues already being held behind closed doors, there is the possibility that a joint decision might be made to postpone the Euro competition in the summer.
As it stands, there are already talks of the Champions League and Europa League being suspended as well and all of that is pointing to the fact that this alternative might ultimately happen.
The Euro 2020 might be moved until much later this year or could even be moved till next year. In the event that any of this happens, it would give room to the Serie A to reschedule their games.
A Sandwiched Fixture List
If the Serie A still has to complete the fixture list before May, there is a possibility of pushing up the calendar in some way. Games could be played every three days to make up for the lost time. While this might be somewhat reasonable, it won’t go down well with the likes of Juventus, Inter, and Atalanta who still have European competitions to care about.
Play-offs and Play-outs
Another option for the Serie A will be to employ a play-off system to determine the winner of the league and the relegation places.
The last time the Serie A had to use this method dates back to the 1963-64 season.
At the time, Bologna and Inter both finished the season level at 54 points and played a one-off game at a neutral stadium to determine the winner. Bologna ran out 2-0 winners and were awarded the title for that season.
If it comes to it, the same tactic could also be considered in the search of a possible solution. League leaders Juventus at 63 points might have to go head-to-head with Lazio (62 points) to determine who wins the title.
Scrap the Current Season
This is the worst-case scenario and would only happen after all other alternatives can no longer be considered. In the event that this happens, there will be no Scudetto winner and surely the protests from a certain top-ranked Juventus will be a talk for another day.
It might benefit the bottom sides though as none of them would be relegated based on claims that they were not allowed to reach their “potential” points completely. The top two teams from Serie B would still be promoted and that would force the Serie A to expand to 22 teams next season.
A lot could still happen that could change the Serie A season but, as it stands, things are looking pretty confusing. The big question is how the ban would also affect Italian sides still in European competitions and if at all other leagues might follow suit with the Serie A as well.