Serie A | Coronavirus

Serie A clubs reject one of three options to decide title/relegation

With a worsening situation in Italy due to coronavirus, the football authorities are considering the options available to them if the season cannot be completed.

Los jugadores de la Juventus de Turín celebran el título de la Serie A de la temporada 2018-2019.
MASSIMO PINCA REUTERS

Italian football is still in shock due to the coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the country and that has already left a total of 12,462 confirmed infected (2,076 new cases on Wednesday) and 827 deaths (196 in the last 24 hours). And in the world of football, news came in on Wednesday evening that Juventus player Daniele Rugani had tested positive for the virus, as doubts increase over the likelihood of Serie A resuming this season.

Three options for Serie A

For this reason, the Italian Football Federation is evaluating various scenarios to decide the future of the championship, as Corriere dello Sport journalist Gabriele Marcotti points out, if the competition cannot be completed. One of these has since been rejected by the clubs.

1. Serie A null and void

The first option is to declare no winner of Serie A, effectively a void year. This is something that did happen in fairly recent memory, back in the 2004-05 season when Juventus lost the title after the 'Moggigate' scandal. Although no title awarded, the European competition places for next season would be based on the current standings (Juventus, Lazio, Inter and Atalanta would play the Champions League, while Roma and Napoli would be in the Europa League. This option would also see no relegation from the top flight, so Brescia, SPAL and Lecce (currently occupying the bottom three positions) would remain in Serie A to the detriment of teams like Benevento, Crotone and Frosinone, who are leading in Serie B.

2. Juventus named champions

Option number two would be to formally end the season at this point. Juventus would, therefore, be awarded the title, the European places would be as per option one, and the three teams in the relegation zone would swap with the three leading Serie B for the start of the next campaign.

3. Play-off time

The third option that was being considered was that, if conditions in the country improve, they would have two separate play-off tournaments, one for the title and the other for relegation. The teams in the middle of the table would be unaffected. On Friday, however, the league's clubs held an assembly by video conference and rejected this idea.

The fingers-crossed option

Everything will depend on how the situation in Italy evolves over the coming weeks, with 3 April the current deadline imposed for the national quarantine by the Government of Giuseppe Conte. If a miracle recover was to happen much sooner than current estimates predict, maybe more of the season can be saved. The hope is that playing games every three days, once it is back up and running, and extending the season over the summer will allow the campaign to be completed.

This, of course, rules out any chance of Euro 2020 taking place, something that has already been strongly hinted at by UEFA.