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Serie A Femminile and the Coronavirus Crisis: The season is set to be cancelled

The teams will ask the FIGC to formally cancel the season, as they simply can’t afford to continue playing.

AC Milan v ACF Fiorentina - Women Coppa Italia Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

According to the site Tutto Calcio Femminile, the teams of Serie A Femminile will formally request that the rest of the season be canceled.

The requests have been made by teams in both the Serie A and Serie B championships. The current health protocols for the resumption of play are deemed too costly for the teams to adhere to. Many of the women’s teams simply can’t afford them. The costs of testing the players, sanitizing the facilities, and potentially quarantining entire squads who have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, will become a burden too large for these teams to bear.

The preliminary estimates are that it could cost between €120,000 to €180,000 to adhere to these protocols. Gianluca Di Marzio’s site has estimated that the costs could rise as high as €500,000.

The requests will be made via Ludovica Mantovani, who is the head of the women’s football division. She will deliver the requests to the FIGC during a meeting that will be held by the council next week.

The FIGC will then have to give their approval to their joint request. Once they do so, then the seasons for both leagues will officially come to an end.

What happens next

If the season does come to an end, then the focus will shift onto next season. The focus will then turn to reformatting the women’s leagues, and how to start the next edition of Serie A Femminile.

Though the focus will shift onto next season, there are still issues to work out with the current one.

The first issue will be whether to assign the scudetto to a team for the season. Based on the current standings, Juventus would be the league’s winners.

However, according to Donne nel Pallone, the season might finish without an assigned winner. It would, therefore, follow a similar path to the Eredivisie Vrouwen. PSV were on top of the league table when the season was terminated, and therefore, given automatic passage to the Champions League. They were not, however, crowned the league champions. We could see something similar for Serie A Femminile

The FIGC is also focused on increasing the funding of the women’s teams as well. They are reportedly asking that the Serie A teams donate 0.5% of their revenue to the women. That means that the women’s teams will receive a total of €13.61 million in funding from the men’s teams. The Serie A teams will have to agree to this first and according to that same report, they will most likely give their approval to the measure.

‘We need a resolution’

The main issue now is what to do with the teams that will be relegated, and who are contesting for next season’s Champions League.

Alessandra Signorile (Pink Bari’s president), is also asking that none of the teams be relegated. She cites the fact that leagues like La Liga Iberdrola managed to end their seasons without any of the teams being relegated as her reason for this.

This will, however, be viewed as unfair to the teams that are set to be promoted from Serie B. Teams like Lazio, San Marino and Napoli have worked hard to get promoted to Serie A. According to Geppino Marino (Napoli’s coach), it would only be ‘just’ if the teams were promoted.

(Napoli, curiously enough, were said to be the last holdouts who didn’t want the season to be canceled. They have since fallen in line with the other teams and have not objected to the closure of the season.)

Pink Bari and Orobica have already been fortunate enough to avoid relegation last season. After the dissolution of Atalanta Mozzanica and Chievo Verona Valpolicella, both teams were kept in Serie A out of necessity. They were kept in the league as a way of keeping the number of teams in the league even. If the teams manage to avoid relegation for a second time, while the teams that have fought for promotion remain in Serie B, then the final decisions could be contested in a legal setting.

Gioia Masia (Tavagnacco) has already stated that the team will dispute the decision to cancel the season in court. Before the league was suspended, Tavagnacco was one of the two teams that was set to be relegated next season.

A possible work around to this would be to increase the number of teams in the league from 12 to 14. That way, the teams that were set to be promoted from Serie B would be promoted to Serie A. We’ll have to see if the FIGC is even willing to entertain this idea.

Then there is the issue of the final Champions League spot. Currently, both AC Milan and Fiorentina are tied for second. The Viola are ahead on goal difference.

The Rossonere have repeatedly said that they would like to return to the pitch to secure passage to next season’s competition. The most recent proclamation came from goalkeeper Alessia Piazza, who said that she ‘wants the Champions League’. Francesca Vitale also reiterated her desire to play in the tournament during an interview with Alle Tattoo:

“Before the break, we were second and on an equal footing with Fiorentina, in a battle for the Champions League. We wanted to play the match and we hope that we’ll be able to finish it on the playing field. If we start playing again, we will end up playing in late July, on a collision course with the start of next season. Every day, new information arrives and we are waiting to know what we will have to do next.”

A possible solution to this could be a playoff-style system. It would allow both teams to contest for that final Champions League spot.

Unfortunately, the chances of Milan playing a playoff are slim to none. The FIGC will most likely make their final decisions based on the current rankings. This means that Fiorentina will play next season’s edition of the Champions League. They will do so on the strength of their goal difference, as they have a five-goal differential with Milan.

The federation will also protect the teams in the top flight, and will not allow them to be relegated. So Bari, Orobica and Tavagnacco will live to fight another day.

(The teams who were set to be promoted from Serie B are, of course, not happy about this.)

We will know what the federation’s final decision will be within the upcoming days. The most likely date for the announcement will be May 20th.

The Milan Women have made their intentions of playing in Europe well known. Sadly, they might have to wait until next year for this to happen. The current pandemic has put a lot of things on hold, and their dreams of European glory might be yet another casualty of this crisis.