6/15-17/2006 - Turmoil in Italy
There is turmoil in Italy over the latest football (soccer) news. No, not the world cup, that's old news. Right now the focus is on a game rigging scandal. 5 are so teams may be found guilty and if they are? Relegation to a lower league. This is what really gets me. Who suffers and what happens if a 1st division team suddenly becomes a 3rd division team?
Owners - OK. Sucks for them. One can imagine that the value of their team would drop by 80%+ overnight. Assuming that they are ultimately to blame, this is probably a good thing.
Employees - I had to throw them in there. I have to think that they suffer big time. They used to work for an employer that was rewarding on both a financial and spiritual level. I am sure that many will lose their jobs and those who stay can't possibly imagine that the job will be as good as it used to be. What burns me here is that the majority of these folks won't have done anything wrong. In the U.S. they could sue the owner. In Italy, that may not be realistic. God bless America and the Plaintiff's bar.
Fans - I live within walking distance of Fenway. How would I feel if it was suddenly a single A ball club? How the heck would they maintain a premiere stadium if it were only a single A ball club. I have to think that I would be a big loser in this scenario.
Finally the players - This is the question that I find most interesting. I imagine that the free agents is the easiest situation - their value gets bid up well by the 5 or so teams that suddenly get inserted into the league (and who have no present talent, so need to move fast).
Elite players under contract? Are the owners allowed to trade them? If they are, they could trade them for cash and get enriched in the process. Alternatively, they could trade them for minor league talent and beat the heck out of their new opponents. They could possibly even do both! You can imagine that the judicial system is well aware of this and will try to do something to prevent it, but those contracts have significant value. Will the courts break up the contracts? Can they? Who knows.
What about the bench? I wonder how I would feel in this situation. If I stay with the team, I have the opportunity to be a big fish and probably get warm fuzzies from the die hard fans. If I get traded, I'll just be bench somewhere else. Other than that, I got nothing on these guys.
So bottom line? It sounds like the owners (who are probably really at fault) may be able to play their way out of this and the real losers will be many of those who were innocent. Based on my totally unqualified opinion.
34,000 cynical steps over these 3 days. Cheers,