Scudetto playoff has been officially approved to be used again as a title decider in Italian Serie-A.
Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has finally agreed to set the change in deciding the top tier champions, should the two teams collect the same points in the final matchday of the league by a playoff. It was reportedly approved recently after being pushed forward for a while by its own president, Gabriele Gravina. The scudetto playoff has been officially legal starting from the upcoming 2022/23 season. Gabriele Gravina believed that such format would increase the level of excitement and competitiveness in Italian Serie A.
The Italian top flight is now considered as the lowest among the top five European leagues. Although from the overall UEFA coefficient points, it is still sitting on the third of the standings, based on its season-based rank, Italian Serie A is only on the fifth below English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, French League 1 and German Bundesliga. Moreover, it is also more well-known for the league for the unknown young talents and the nearlye-retired veterans. Such can be seen in the squad in the current Serie A Champions, AC Milan with the likes of Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemarkers on the young side and Olivier Giroud plus Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the veteran side.
It is quite an irony as back in the 1980s and 1990s, it was deemed as the toughest and best league in the world, much more well-known than English Premier League. The global stars from Diego Maradona, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Lothar Mattheus, Jurgen Klinsmann, Ronaldo Luiz, Diego Simeone to Zinedine Zidane were at the peak of their career while playing for Serie A sides. However, its reputation began to slowly decrease and soon deteriorate once Calciopoli was exposed in 2005-2006.
The emergence of scudetto playoff could be a start to lure more fans watching the competition again. Since the end of Juventus’s domination two seasons ago, the title race has always been tight, especially this season when duo Milan were in two-horse race for a silverware, even three before Napoli eventually fell behind at the later stages of the league.
The playoff itself will be staged in a neutral venue without an extra time. Thus, the game goes to penalties straight away, should both sides share spoil after 90 minutes. This system once was actually used just one time back in 1964. At that time, Bologna dan Inter Milan had the same 54 points. Both teams had to face off one more time in Olimpico stadium on June 7. Surprisingly, the former side won by two goals to nil. It was their first scudetto in 23 years.