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18 or 20 Which is Better?

If many had their way it was a match that would never have happened, a game consisting of two teams not worthy of the competition they represented.

It was match day six of the Serie A season and Crotone in only their second ever top-flight campaign took on Benevento playing in their first. The hosts would win, giving them their maiden victory of the campaign while the visiting Stregoni resigned themselves to their sixth defeat on the bounce.

Even with the top of Serie A looking its most open in many years, many peoples focus has been turned to events down the bottom and the prowess or lack of, of the teams cradled in the bosom of relegation.

Calls have been made all over Twitter and the like that these teams are making a mockery of the league, they are simply not good enough. Cut them, return to an 18-team top flight and see the quality of Serie A return to the heights of the glory days.

The question on my lips however is, will 18 really be better than 20? From what I can gather the argument from those who seek an 18-team league is that those right at the foot of the table are simply not Serie A worthy and distort the results of everyone else. With sides in the ilk of Benevento, Verona, Crotone and SPAL being the chief offenders.

What many tend to forget however when criticising these clubs is that each have earned the right to compete at this level and are as much deserving of a place in Serie A as the likes of Juventus, Milan, Inter, etc. are. Also what is tended to be forgotten is that even if Serie A had reverted to 18 teams, three of the four above mentioned teams would still have earned the right to be there.

How so, let me explain. If Serie A became an 18 team league the general likelihood is that the bottom two teams would be relegated and replaced by the top two in Serie B (With maybe the possibility of a promotion relegation play-off between third bottom and third top of the respective leagues). If this was the case, Crotone 2nd   (2015/16) Serie B, Verona 2nd Serie B and SPAL 1st all would still have made it into Serie A even if it consisted of 18 teams by virtue of finishing in the top two of Serie B.

Even if these teams (including Benevento) were just kicked from the league in the morning, would it matter overly much. They have proven in the past (in the case of Verona numerous times) that they are more than capable of reaching the criteria required to gain access into Serie A even in its reduced state. You are now faced with the possibility that two teams off the pace in a 20-team division are now heading into an 18 team league to be potentially even further off the pace of 16 clubs who have now established themselves as seasoned Serie A sides.

It may be argued that by reducing the league to 18 will force these promoted clubs to spend more, on their squad and facilities in an attempt to retain their status in the shrunken division. Teams such as Crotone or SPAL simply do not have that sort of cash to throw around and doing so will probably put themselves in dire financial straits. All this in a time when numerous clubs are already creaking under financial strain and many are ceasing to exist.

It is here that I point out that I am not strictly against an 18 team Serie A, but more the fact that people think that if it is done it will sort all the ills of the league.

Even with an 18 team Serie A the likes of Crotone, Verona, SPAL and Benevento will continue to be there and week after week they will continue to be beaten. They however have met all the hurdles placed before them and have earned the right to be where they are no matter how bad they are.

 

@ItalianFD

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