Serie A has postponed the season until 3 April, which effectively ends match play as the Euros start on 12 June. Combined with the suspension of training for must clubs (including all levels at Fiorentina), there probably isn’t enough time to make up the 12+ rounds remaining in the league. While nobody’s certain what solution the powers that be will take, there are some options that have gained steam in the media over the past few days.
Option 1: Make the current table the final table
This is probably the simplest option, although it’s also so unfair that even Serie A might not be able to countenance it. Not every team has played the same number of games, for one thing, but the bigger problem is that so much can happen over the final third of the season. Lazio could maintain their form and pip Juventus to the scudetto. AS Roma could launch a late assault on the final Champions League spot, which they trail by 3 points. AC Milan, Hellas Verona, and Parma are all within striking distance of Napoli and the final Europa League spot. At the other end of the table, Genoa lead Lecce by mere goal difference for the final relegation spot, with Sampdoria, Torino, and Udinese all within 3 as well.
What it means for Fiorentina: Nothing. This is a mid-table team and these things don’t impact it.
Option 2: 4-team playoff for the Scudetto
With the top four places relatively settled at this point—4th-place Atalanta leads 5th-place Roma by 3 points and has a match in hand—we could see the top four enter a playoff for the Scudetto, with the winner taking home season honors. Logistically, this makes some sense, as the requisite 3 matches could be played after the 3 April deadline and still give players time to prepare for the Euros. In practice, though (and I genuinely hate admitting this) it’s probably unjust to the Bianconeri and the Biancocelesti, who hold an 8- and 9-point lead, respectively, over Inter Milan in third. There’s also the question of whether we’ll see any more matches played until this spring; if the current conditions don’t change enough by then to play these games, we’re right back in the same boat. In fairness, that feels like exactly the sort of idiocy one might expect from Serie A.
What it means for Fiorentina: Nothing. This is a mid-table team and these things don’t impact it. That said, it’d be cool to see Atalanta win the scudetto like this just to see all the Juventus and Lazio fans shrieking in impotent rage.
Option 3: Don’t award a scudetto
This hasn’t ever happened. Even when the old Primera Categoria (Serie A’s precursor) was suspended in 1915 due to the First World War—the only other time the top flight has been stopped in calcio history—the league eventually declared Genoa as the winners. That was at a later stage in the season, though, when the Grifoni could lay a reasonable claim to being the best team in the country (although Torino may disagree). However, that season was further along than this one. With so many variables unaccounted for, any scudetto awarded would come with a few dozen asterisks (not that that’s ever stopped teams from celebrating them in Italy). The most just decision might be to just call this one a wash, which would likely mean that the European places are decided by the current standings.
What it means for Fiorentina: Nothing. This is a mid-table team and these things don’t impact it. But if neither Juve nor Lazio win, we won’t be very upset.
Those are a bunch of flawed responses to a situation that many might say has no perfect solution. Fortunately, the brain trust at VN has come up with not one, not two, but three better ways to figure things out here.
Option 1: Trial by combat
This is a relatively straightforward option. Every team sends its strongest warrior into the Thunderdome, and the last man standing takes the scudetto back to his team. We can let the bureaucrats quibble over choice of weapons and armor later, but this is certainly a fair way to settle things. The added excitement of seeing an outfit like Brescia come out of nowhere to win the whole shebang is an added bonus.
What it means for Fiorentina: Nothing. This is a mid-table team and these things don’t impact it. Unless the Viola get a special dispensation and get to bring Facundo Roncaglia in on loan, in which case we should start planning our celebrations as champions of Italy.
Option 2: Give it to the kids
One of the major complains non-Italian fans level at Serie A is that Juventus always win it. In the recent past, this is doubtless the case. Therefore, the league office should figure out how to disbar Juve from winning it to attract more fans and thus more revenue and better players to the league. As the Bianconeri have the oldest squad in the league, maybe it should go to the youngest. That puts Newcastle Junior firmly at the wrong end of the table and really shakes things up. Who says no?
What it means for Fiorentina: Nothing. This is a mid-table team and these...wait a minute. Fiorentina’s the youngest team in Serie A, you say? This is clearly the most equitable method of awarding the scudetto.
Option 3: Best defense against Atalanta
In Italy, long hallowed as the land of extraordinary defenders, how better to decide things by leaning into this tradition? Rewarding the best defense may seem anachronistic, sure, but you can’t spell “Serie A is frequently dumb and backwards” without “anachronistic.”
Let’s lean even further into the idiosyncrasy, though, by not just rewarding those boring teams who blank the bottom of the table. Let’s reward the teams that have excelled against the best attacks. As Atalanta has smashed nearly every goalscoring record in Serie A and would surely smash the remainder were they allowed to continue, Let’s reward the team that’s done the best job against them. While some may argue that this sets certain teams at a disadvantage—for example, José Luis Palomino can only score so many goals against Bergamo’s best—we feel like this honors Italy’s history better than any other method of deciding things.
What it means for Fiorentina: Quite a bit, actually. The Viola have done a brilliant job in both fixtures (plus the Coppa Italia) against Atalanta, and this measure could very well see them collect another trophy.