Lega Serie A commissioners have decided to play games on Boxing Day for the first time beginning next year.
In meetings this week, commissioners also voted to make changes to the summer and winter transfer windows in terms of when they will close.
With the schedule, Serie A will follow Serie B who tried a Boxing Day schedule a few years ago. Commissioners said the move is an attempt to help bolster attendance. It means Inter Milan could be playing the day after Christmas next year.
”We are convinced that this solution will produce great results,” said Giovanni Malago, the commissioner of the Lega Serie A, who announced the calendar for next season in Milan, according to ESPN.com.
Next season’s schedule will include games on Dec. 22, Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 before the Coppa Italia round of 16 starts on Jan. 13 – a week before the Serie A regular schedule resumes.
The schedule changes mean the league will have just two midweek fixture dates next season: Sept. 26 and April 3. The changes also mean the winter and summer mercato seasons will be impacted.
The summer mercato will end before the start of the season and the winter window will close just before the winter break restart.
“In terms of the transfer market, we’ve made important alterations,” Malago said. “The summer window will close on Aug. 18, 24 hours prior to the start of the Serie A season. And the same goes for the January window -- it’s expected that will close on Jan. 19.”
Earlier in February, the English Football League decided to augment its summer transfer window schedule to fall in line with the Premier League – which has the same schedule as Serie A will have next season.
The belief in the mercato change is to end the distraction of teams and players conducting last-minute contract negotiations while games are being played.
In all, it’s a good move, if not only for the distraction factor but also for the fact that the calcio mercato seems to drag on endlessly. In terms of the schedule change, I really don’t see a plus or a minus to adding Boxing Day as a game date. Removing midweek contests is good, especially for those teams playing in Europe.
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