Europa League And The Downfall Of Serie A

It has remained no secret that the glamour and excitement in the Europa League are nowhere near to that in the Champions League, and the UEFA seems to have done little about maintaining if not enhancing the players’ attraction for the tournament. This compels the teams participating in the competition to focus on maintaining their top run of form in the domestic league and thus cement their position in the top bracket to feature into the Champions League for the following season.

Thus during the course of a Europa League campaign, a team like Juventus would not feature a half fit Milos Krasic in a match for the fear of aggravating his injury and endangering his participation in the upcoming league matches; a risk they would most certainly opt for, should it be a group game in Champions League. There are all chances a team manages to fare deep enough into the tournament, possibly win it too and as a result raises the amount of fatigue among the first choice players who would not be able to translate the similar run of form in the crucial last phase of the domestic league games.

A classic example for this is Fulham. The inspired Londoners under Roy Hodgson eliminated the teams like Juventus and Hamburg to reach the finals only to fall second to Atletico Madrid. At the end of the season 2009/10, Fulham could not finish even among the top seven teams in England and were denied a chance to compete even in the current edition of Europa League. Today, a similar concern is shared by many of the mid-table teams across different leagues, who always face the dilemma in interest while being in the race for the coveted fourth spot and yet continue to fare good in Europa League.

Teams often choose to rest their key prospects for more crucial phases during the season and do not really mind if they were eliminated in Europe League knock-out phase. While the system to derive a league’s co-efficient in the confederation relies equally on the teams’ performances in the Champions League as well as Europa League, the UEFA must bring into a set of measures for the survival of the latter.

Due to the lack of interest among the fans and the unexciting gestures in the matches by players, the UEFA were compelled to drop the idea of "Cup Winners’ Cup" a few years back and that exactly could be the case with the Europa League if nothing of greater significance is applied as a counter measure.

A series of listless performances in the current episode of the Europa League has already denied a chance of progressing to three of the Serie A teams (Juventus, Palermo, Sampdoria) and if worse is to follow, Napoli too may crash out. What is more harmful than the elimination from the tournament is the timing for this multiple elimination. The Italian Serie A is already plunged into a set of disarray with so many questions crumbling over the survival of the league as one of the European giants. Lately, Serie A matches have failed to pull an enormous crowd into the stadiums.

Many of the teams are facing financial troubles, and it is very important for the league during such convoluted circumstances to continue to do well on every stage it can. The disinterested and indifferent show by the likes of Juventus, Palermo and Sampdoria could well snatch the fourth spot from Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga may be given higher preference for the years to come.

In that case, the race for the coveted Fourth-Spot - something for which Italian teams chose to reduce their efforts in the Europa League - becomes insignificant as the privilege no longer remains in the Serie A. While the grooming of new local breed for Gli Azzurri has been a tormenting question for Cesare Prandelli since he assumed the duties of the national team coach. Such dim and depressing display by Italian teams in Europa League would only do harm to the process of re-establishment of the Italian game’s stature in the European and World football.

Related Articles:
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Saturday Video Highlights - Serie A & La Liga
Europa: Liverpool & Villareal Are Through
Europa: Juve Are Out As Nine Others Progress

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