Clubs at odds again as Serie A seeks to end simultaneous matches
More than half of the teams in Italian soccer’s Serie A today gave the green light to a proposal from the league to stage all games from each round of fixtures at different times from next season, but the vote was one club short of the two-thirds majority required for it to pass.
At an assembly meeting between the league and the 20 clubs, 13 teams voted in favour of the proposal, in which all 10 matches would be played in 10 different time slots each week.
Despite most clubs being in favour of introducing this from the 2021-22 season, 14 votes were required for it to come into effect and a decision on the matter has now been postponed until next week when another vote will be held.
Several clubs have spoken out against the idea, including Sampdoria and Genoa.
Serie A is proposing to stage four matches on Saturdays, at 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm and 8.45pm, five games on Sundays, at 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm and 8.45 pm, and one fixture on a Monday, at 8.45pm.
If ultimately approved, the league’s traditional 3pm Sunday slot, the only time slot in which matches have continued to be played at the same time, should be removed.
Serie A’s new main domestic broadcast rights partner DAZN, the OTT subscription platform, is open to multiple and simultaneous kick-off times.
The company told La Verità: "We are very ready to go and we will be, if and when necessary, be able to broadcast the matches at the same time.
“We have made every technological effort to improve what we have done so far. A decision is yet to be taken by the league but we are already equipped even if the games are kept at the same time.”
Starting next season, DAZN will provide live coverage of all Serie A matches for three years, with exclusive rights to seven of the 10 in each round of fixtures, in a deal worth €2.5 billion ($3 billion).
Pay-TV operator Sky Italia recently picked up co-exclusive rights to three matches per round.
Serie A is looking to adopt a similar model to Spain’s LaLiga which stages all 10 of its games each week at different times.
At its discretion, LaLiga usually holds some midweek matches, and typically the final two matchdays of the season, at the same time.
Last season, the English Premier League temporarily moved away from staging games simultaneously in its traditional 3pm time slot on a Saturday to enable all games to be televised live in the UK while spectators were unable to attend because of coronavirus restrictions.
Serie A will be hoping to avoid a protracted saga on the issue of kick-off times similar to that for the allocation of domestic broadcasting rights, which were only awarded after multiple meetings and inconclusive votes.