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What's with Serie A's Low Attendances?

In his column in today's La Gazzetta Dello Sport former Italy manager Arrigo Sacchi drops his two cents on why Serie A's attendances have dropped to a 35-year low. He contends that the problem is beyond a single cause, but among the problems he sees are "tired, inhospitable," deteriorating stadiums, as well as an increase in the presence of violent fans who attend the games in gangs of hundreds, making life difficult for moderate, opposing and even neutral fans. These Ultras, he says, "would not have a place in any part of civilized Europe." Then there's the Calciopoli scandal, which he points out isn't the first time clubs have alienated fans through illegal actions (other clubs have been sanctioned for fixing matches, and faking passports for foreign players, while many have gone bankrupt from corrupt accounting). The fall of Juventus, in particular, also has something to do with it. While the Old Lady, as she's called in Italy, was never known for stellar home attendance, she was always a draw on her travels as the team to beat. That effect is certainly being felt in Serie B this season, which has seen average attendances rise 20 percent. The real shame about the poor attendances is two-fold: one, Italy is, after all, the reigning world champion, and two, a Serie A without Juventus and point-depleted AC Milan makes for an interesting Scudetto race. Who would have thought Palermo would be neck-in-neck with Inter Milan at the top a quarter of the way through the season?

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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