The Italian Serie A is the top flight league in Italy and is home to some of the most prestigious teams who have conquered Europe on numerous occasions. Serie A was once regarded as the best football league in the world when teams such as AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan dominated in European competitions.
It should be noted that, excluding the Spanish La Liga (26), no other league in Europe have won UEFA competitions more than the Serie A (21) with 12 Champions League titles and 9 Europa League titles being won by Italian teams.
Juventus, aka the Old Lady, has enjoyed the most domestic successes, winning the Serie A a record 32 times; however, they have only managed to transform this domestic brilliance to continental success on five occasions, winning the Champions League twice in 1985 and 1996, conquering the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) on three occasions in 1977, 1990 and 1993.
On the other hand, AC Milan has helped put the Serie A on the map by being the most successful Italian team, and second most successful team on the continent with 7 European trophies in Europe’s elite club competition, while winning the UEFA Cup on two occasions.
Another club worthy of a mention is Internazionale who won both the Champions League and UEFA Cup 3 times each.
The Italian Serie A lost a lot of its prestige after being riddled with match-fixing scandals. This ugly scenario played out barely a week after Italy had shown the world just how good the Italian league can be, by winning the World Cup predominantly with Serie A based players in 2006.
The match fixing scandals led to the relegation of 3 top tier sides (Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina) in a development that preceded the mass exodus of quality players from these clubs amongst others.
In the 2011/2012 season another match fixing scandal broke out, this time involving teams in Serie B, as well as some Serie A teams (list too long to mention). This also adversely affected the Serie A and created a negative impression in regards to it in the world of football.
How can the Serie A become one of the best?
1. Stop the gambling already!
There is no way the Serie A can ever be considered to be one of the best leagues in the world if the trend of gambling still continues to exist in the league. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the scourge of gambling is completely rooted out from the Italian football setting! Gambling has no place in football and should never again be associated with any tier of Italian football.
2. Proper league management
How well a league is managed determines how the league will fare against its competitors in terms of TV rights, and human resources. These factors are what generate money for the league and without money there’s no league. So far, the Italian league has not done badly being ranked 4th by UEFA, behind La Liga, the Bundesliga and the EPL. However, to compete against the top tier competitions, Serie A needs to do more in terms of how well the league is run.
3. More footballing talent needed
Serie A teams should do more in terms of the quality of talents being injected into the league both from the youth system and from abroad. Transfer of quality talents should not be left to the likes of Juventus, Inter, Napoli, Roma etc. Smaller teams should work within their budget and sign concealed talents that can draw the world’s attention. The influx of these talented players will definitely make the league more competitive and less of a yearly stroll to the title for Juve.
4. Improvement in infrastructure
Some stadiums in the Serie A are still well below par. This affects how the outside world views the Serie A. All stadiums in the Serie A should be upgraded to acceptable standards. Infrastructure management and maintenance should be a priority for teams plying their trade in Italy’s elite league.
5. Performance in the continent
In the end, it all bores down to how well Serie A teams perform in UEFA competitions. Serie A teams need to do more in continental competitions to make a statement for the league. At the moment it seems like the task is sorely on the shoulder of Juventus. Other Serie A teams need to step up their performance in Europe to increase Italy’s ranking by UEFA.