While Juventus won the Supercoppa Italiana this weekend with all due pomp and circumstance and revelry, that doesn't change that the event was badly marred by an awful pitch and television coverage best described as "lackluster." Serie A has been drawing criticism for their handling of the match, and Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has been one of the loudest voices of disdain.
Napoli's chairman called the match, which took place in Shanghai, an "embarrassment," citing the fiasco as justification for his refusal to allow the Supercoppa to be played in China a year ago as it was scheduled to be. De Laurentiis then took things a step further, demanding that Lega Serie A president Maurizio Beretta resign immediately, and gave a scathing indictment to the league over the power held by Lazio owner Claudio Lotito.
The President [Maurizio Beretta] can’t lead, he’s on [Lazio President Claudio] Lotito’s leash. I’ve always wondered - why do Lega officials have to take some of the money from the Supercoppa?
Beretta must resign, and Lotito should no longer have more of a say [than others], there are 20 teams in the Lega Serie A! They invented a voting system where the Lazio owner controls everything, [prime minister Matteo] Renzi should be vigilant on this too.
-Source: Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli
Translation via Football Italia
Remember how we've talked before about De Laurentiis saying things that can hurt the club because he makes the wrong people mad? Yeah, that was one of them. By all appearances, he's not wrong, but man, sometimes a zipped lip is the right call.
De Laurentiis wasn't done there, though, and he unloaded on how the lack of organization both in the league and the preparation for the event was reflected in the awful state of the pitch in Shanghai, as well as how sparse the television coverage was for the match:
The Lega Serie A is one of the most disorganised things I’ve ever seen. When I went to Beijing, I saw that they lacked organisation. Why didn’t the Lega check on the organisation in Shanghai two months ago?
They acted too late, especially on the issue of the pitch.
In Portugal [where Napoli drew a friendly with Porto], we couldn’t watch the Supercoppa because the television rights weren’t sold in that country, which is absurd.
I was forced to hack into a RAI feed, that’s absurd, what I did was illegal, it shouldn’t happen because this is a very feasible thing, it’s very simple, because the Lega does not protect its product.
Both criticisms are entirely valid -- the pitch was horrid, with players slipping and sliding and the path of the ball on the ground proving unpredictable. It was also difficult at best to watch the match, which not only was foolishly scheduled at the same time as the first EPL match of the season -- smart call there, Serie A, real smart -- but was poorly-sold to foreign markets, with large swaths of Europe and the rest of the world left unable to watch by legal means.
For those asking why De Laurentiis cares so much about a match his team wasn't involved in, the reasoning is simple: he's the very visible president, chairman, and owner of one of the biggest and most visible teams in the league. A league that, supposedly, is represented in its entirety by the Supercoppa Italiana. So when the league screws up the Supercoppa like this and looks bad, it makes his team look bad, and him by extension.
For an event that's supposed to be the glitzy, glamorous, must-watch curtain-raising event for your league's season, this year's Supercoppa lacked any of those factors. The league needs to take a long look at what went wrong and how to fix it. It would seem that De Laurentiis might have a few ideas, but given historical precedent, well, it's not likely they'll be consulting with him any time soon.