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What has happened to Serie A?

There was a time when Italian football was an unrivalled force in world football. It was majestic, successful and extremely wealthy.

It had confidence and a distinct awareness of its own superiority. It had all the best players and was coveted by wealthy investors. Its clubs raked in more trophies than seemed plausible (or fair).

These are changing times. The demise of Serie A is a sad sight to behold, but it’s hardly surprising given the Italian domestic league's decline in quality and corrupt officials who seem intent on dragging its once proud name backwards through the mud.

Some critics blame the poor form of the national side, but they’d be killing the host before even attempting to isolate the virus.

The national team suffers because of the standard of the league – the league has been dying long before now.

Calcio’s rot is evident as we see once great footballing institutions begin to feel the effects.

So how has this all affected the clubs?

AC Milan

The once stylish, swaggering Milan are now an ageing, creaking outfit.

Their controversial club president Silvio Berlusconi has made some damaging remarks over the years too. As the club's most publicized figurehead his comments reflect Milan’s ethos – tantamount to changing the club insignia to a Nazi swastika.

But the Prime Minister isn’t the only man in charge responsible for the negative hype. Fiorentina’s Diego Della Valle and Lazio’s Claudio Lotito have both been accused of bringing the game into disrepute.

After Juve director Luciano Moggi’s infamous quote that ”a homosexual cannot fulfill the job of a footballer” it became clear that the league's welfare was in completely the wrong hands.

Lesson – Keep oil barons and politicians out of football.

With Italian politics comes a barrage of other unwanted factors like violence, conspiracy theories, religious superstition, bribery and neo-fascist activity.

Inter

This once proud and dominant club, a true symbol at the heart of what has made Italy one of the greatest footballing nations of all time, has been coming apart at the seams ever since their 2010 Champions League win.

Juventus

Juve were at the heart of a match fixing scandal and after being demoted to the second tier of Italian football have found it difficult to regain their edge.

When Sky bought the rights to the English Premiership, exposure to Serie A became limited. It had lost its worldwide audience.

While it maintains some of its pull factor, players are reluctant to stay in Italy. Much like in Scotland, there are screams from disenfranchised players and fans demanding a revamp of the whole system.

The Italians are not in denial about their game. How could they be?

These days, teams crash out of Europe as early as the group stages and crowd attendances are at an all-time low. 

Things have even escalated beyond this, taking a more sinister twist.

In 2007 all fixtures were suspended following the murder of a policeman, allegedly by Catania fans. Later that year a Lazio fan was killed by police, and once again here's that much-used word when it comes to scandals, it was allegedly for 'no apparent reason'.

The strange, often terrifying soup bowl of Italian soccer is now ready to erupt taking a once proud sporting nations tradition with it.

Although its a shadow of its former self, I hope Serie A won’t die quietly.

By Chris Kelso 


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