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  • Daniele Proch

A Look At The Serie A Table And Scudetto Race As Clubs Enter Christmas Break

~ Original article here!

For Serie A clubs, winning the league does not simply mean adding silverware to their trophy room or sewing a Scudetto badge on their jersey.

There are strong financial incentives that come with winning Serie A, one of which being the share of broadcasting revenue that the league allocates to those clubs who finish higher up in the table.

A Calcio e Finanza report explains that at the end of the 2019/20 Serie A campaign, the league champions collected €23,4 million, while those who finished second, third, and fourth received €19,4 million, €16,8 million, and €14.2 million, respectively.

Securing a UEFA Champions League spot, which means clinching any of Serie A’s top-4 positions, likewise brings important economic benefits.

The Calcio e Finanza report explains that there is a total of €25 million that the UEFA Champions League market pool distributes proportionally among the top-4 Serie A clubs: €10 million goes to the league winners, €7.5 million to the runners-up, €5 million to the bronze medalist, and €2.5 to the fourth-placed club.

For the past nine years, Italy’s Scudetto race has had one undisputed leader: Juventus.

Besides increasing Juventus’s reputation in the soccer world and making them attractive in the eyes of star players like Cristiano Ronaldo, the Bianconeri’s recent success has also allowed them to experience rapid financial growth.

With an annual revenue of €459.7 million, Juventus are the only Italian club that figures among the top-10 clubs in the Deloitte Football Money League 2020 ranking, a detailed financial account that every year classifies soccer clubs around the world according to the revenue they generate.

This 2020/21 season, however, the Serie A kings of Juventus face the serious risk of being dethroned. The table suggests that this year, Serie A could see the fiercest Scudetto competition of the last decade, as soccer pundits continue to disagree on which team will emerge victorious in May.

Juventus’s upsetting result from the past weekend, which saw them falling 3-0 at home against Fiorentina, has caused them to drop to sixth place in the current Serie A standings.

In turn, the two Milan-based clubs, AC Milan and Inter, have been the sharpest sides in the first segment of this 2020/21 Serie A season. They are respectively first and second in the standings, with 34 and 33 points, and have established a six-point gap between themselves and the group of teams that are trailing.

Both Milan and Inter have reasons to believe they can continue to feature in the high places of the Serie A table for the remainder of the campaign.

The Rossoneri have shown incredible consistency throughout their games and performances. They have scored at least two goals in each of the 14 Serie A rounds played so far and remain the only undefeated team this season with a 10-4-0 record.

Inter boast the most prolific attack in the league with 34 goals scored.

The elimination from the prestigious UEFA Champions League, which sparked criticism against manager Antonio Conte, might have its upside in the long run for the Nerazzurri, as they can now focus all their energies on the Scudetto.

Among the clubs that are chasing from behind, Roma and Napoli have the talent and financial resources to keep up the race for a top-4 finish.

They are, alongside Inter, the other Italian clubs with an annual revenue that ranks among the top-20 European clubs, according to the same Deloitte Football Money League 2020 analysis.

Sassuolo and Atalanta, respectively fourth and seventh in the Serie A table, continue to impress for being able to match the pace of the major Serie A clubs while relying on much more limited financial resources.

Sassuolo and Atalanta spend €35 million and €42.6 million on players’ wages, according to an October report by Gazzetta dello Sport. To provide some context, Juventus, who have so far collected two fewer points than Sassuolo and two more points than Atalanta, have a €236 million wage bill. (Both Atalanta and Juventus have one game in hand.)

Lazio, in eighth position, have struggled to replicate last year’s convincing performances in Serie A, while Hellas Verona and newly-promoted Benevento have proven to be the biggest overachievers: Despite registering two of the five smallest wage bills in Serie A, they are currently ninth and tenth in the table, respectively.

With 20 points and a total of €24 million allocated to players’ salaries, Hellas Verona currently have the lowest ratio (1.2) of wage bill over points produced. In other words, Hellas Verona have on average disbursed €1.2 million for each of the 20 points collected, a figure that makes them the Serie A club with the most efficient return on players’ spending.

At the very bottom of the Serie A table lays Torino with just eight points and a growing fear for relegation. The Granata and their manager Marco Giampaolo are under extreme pressure to snap out of this dangerous situation, especially considering that Torino is the eighth club in Serie A for players’ spending and one with an enviable reputation in Italy’s top-flight of soccer.

Serie A will resume action on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

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