Italian Super Cup or Super Waste?
The Supercoppa Italiana is the Italian answer to the Community Shield. A one-game trophy contested the best two teams in the Beautiful Game from the Beautiful Country. Or is it?
Serie A is an important league. The Azzurri are an important footballing nation. When you think the greatest in football, the likes of Juventus, Maldini, Pirlo, the Milan clubs and Totti are quick to spring to mind. Throughout its history, Italy has brought us beautiful food, great landscapes, and fantastic football.
Until now, they had exported all but the last.
Unlike the Community Shield, the Supercoppa takes place midseason. It isn't a warm-up for the campaign. Instead, the league champions and Coppa Italia holders have the opportunity to find their best form for this one. For me, a one-off trophy should be held outside the season where it can least affect the players. Let’s face it. Struggling across 38 games to win a league title leaves a squad at the pinnacle. At the end of the day, the Supercoppa is just one game.
Like the Premier League, Serie A doesn't take a winter break. There’s fixture after fixture with the league, cup and Europe. Injuries pile up and losses. Now, you’ve got this one-game trophy game to contest when you’d rather really not. The cup won’t get you out of the relegation zone, it’ll tire you and add to your plight. Not to mention it’s held in Saudi Arabia this season.
Milan face a five-hour flight to Jedda. It's worse for Juventus with no direct flights from Turin. ICristiano Ronaldo will be subject to some serious jetlag and air mileage. He was in Dubai for a short mid-season vacation with his wife to be, back to Italy for the cup game against Bologna, then to Saudi Arabia and of course, then returning to Turin with the team.
Neither side is interested in a 10-hour round trip for 90 minutes of football. How important is it to boost Serie A's already extensive popularity in Saudi Arabia than for that country to raise its profile in Europe? Then there are the politics. An Italian parliament minister stated that any Italian game of football,
should be organized in a country that respects our women and our values.
His comments were particularly enthused due to the ticketing policy. Women will not be permitted in some sections of the stadium and may only enter with the guidance of a male spectator. Both clubs have female fans who are being suppressed by these rules. They cannot travel to watch their team because a foreign government discriminates against them. Many Italians will boycott the game, even on television in support.
It's an intriguing matchup. Juventus haven’t lost a game against Italian opposition this campaign. Milan is fifth in the league. Milan’s best chance to win anything is a one-game trophy where a sustained effort is not required. They only need to trip Juventus once. Unfortunately, they must do it far from home with a large section of their support completely disinterested.