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Serie A Femminile and the Coronavirus Crisis: Crucial vote for the league set for late May

Part Three in an ongoing series of posts examining the effects of the crisis on the league.

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© Ettore Griffoni | Dreamstime.com

On May 25th, the sporting authorities of Italy will convene to determine the current fate of Serie A Femminile.

The league, like most others, is currently suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

From Donne Nel Pallone:

A meeting is scheduled for May 25th to determine whether the women’s Serie A will resume play. Except for any limitations [that may be imposed] by the national government, a glimpse of light seems to have arrived on the request for financial assistance from the clubs of the top division [Serie A Femminile] to help guarantee the safety of the staff and athletes. In case the season ends on the pitch [...] the teams will be able to resume training in June while the remaining six days [of the league] would be played between the beginning of July and Monday, August 3rd, with four games on the weekends and two-midweek matches. The duration of the contracts expiring on June 30th would automatically be extended [till the season has finished] and the transfer market will open the day afterward [August 4th].

The site also notes that there had previously been a stalemate between the government and the clubs over the funding needed to ensure the safety of the staff and the players. There seems to have been some progress made in that regard. Just how far they’ve come is not yet known.

The Resumption of Training

The Serie A Femminile teams won’t be able to train together until June. They’ll have to wait until they get the approval from the government before they can do so.

Some of the teams, however, have started to summon their players for individual training. Juventus has been the first team to do so. On Wednesday, May 13th, they began training their players on a one on one basis at the Vinovo training center.

They have also summoned their players from abroad in preparation for the possible resumption of group training in June. The players who are returning to Italy will have to be quarantined for 14 days before they’re allowed to train with their teammates.

AS Roma goalkeeper, Rosalia Pipitone has indicated that the team will soon start training their players individually as well.

Milan, on the other hand, are still waiting to begin training their players at the Vismara. It is not known when they will begin summoning their players for practice.

While teams like Roma, Milan, and Juventus can afford the costs of testing and sanitizing their players, other teams are not so fortunate. Teams like Pink Bari, Tavagnacco, and Orobica are among them. Therefore, they will need assistance from the government in order to stay afloat.

The Roadblocks to the Restart

As per Siamo la Roma, one of the issues with resuming the league is in regards to the health protocols for the players and the staff. The protocols for the women will differ slightly from the ones established for the men. Just how they will differ though, is not yet known.

The implementation of these health protocols will get rather costly. It will place an added financial strain on teams that are already suffering because of the pandemic. One of these teams is the previously mentioned Pink Bari. Bari’s president, Alessandra Signorile, wants the season to end without the resumption of play. There are several reasons for this, chief among them being the fact that the team are not able to afford the costs of keeping their players and staff safe. They have also stopped paying their players as well. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why Bari is also the only team that opposes the resumption of the season.

Teams like Bari, Tavagnacco, and Orobica are hanging on for dear life. And unless they get the help they need, they could become casualties of this crisis.

In Germany, the government is helping to mitigate the costs of testing and sanitization through a €7.5 million solidarity fund. The fund is being used to help the women’s teams pay for everything they need to safely resume the season.

Italy will need to do something similar for the women’s teams in order for them to finish the season.

‘We hope that we can play again’

While teams like Bari don’t want the championship to continue, others want it to.

AC Milan are among those teams. The Rossonere’s Valentina Giacinti and Francesca Vitale have both stated that they hope the season will resume.

Milan is currently second on the table, as they are currently tied with Fiorentina. The Viola are ahead on goal difference. If the season ends here, then it means that Milan won’t play in next season’s Champions League. Italy only has two spots due to being ninth in the UEFA club coefficient. At the moment, the two slots are currently occupied by Juve and Fiorentina.

Other teams, like Tavagnacco, will want to continue the season for different reasons. In the Gialloblù’s case, it’s because they want to avoid relegation.

If Serie A Femminile doesn’t resume play, then the league could follow the path of other leagues that were terminated for the season. The Eredivisie Vrouwen and La Liga Iberdrola have already canceled their seasons. The final league standings for both were based on the number of points accumulated by the teams. No league winner was crowned in the Eredivisie, but PSV were given automatic passage to the Champions League due to the fact that they had accumulated the most points.

In contrast to this, FC Barcelona Femení were declared the Primera División champions. Before the season was canceled, they were on top of the league table. Atletico Madrid, who were second in the standings, have disputed this, as they felt the season should have ended without a winner.

If the government decides to terminate the Serie A Femminile season and the final standings are decided the same way, then there could be similar challenges in Italy. Gioia Masia (Tavagnacco) has declared that the teams might dispute the decision in court.

They will do so because much is riding on the restart of the season. The teams still have much to play for and will want to play for them.

The Italian government will have to take all these factors into consideration before making a final decision.

May 25th is the deadline for the federations across Europe to decide whether their leagues will recommence play. They will then have to submit their final decisions to UEFA.

We’re crossing our fingers that the sporting gods will allow Serie A Femminile to resume the season.

At the same time, we only want them to do so, knowing that they are safe enough to continue playing.

The Italian government must make their final decisions based on what’s best for the league. All we can hope for now is that they’ll do the right thing in the end.