2006 was a strange year for Italian football lovers. Whilst the Italian national team famously beat France and Zidane to the World Cup title in Germany, domestic football saw its most dramatic period in history when the ‘Calciopoli’ scandal was revealed to the public. Essentially, several Italian clubs were accused of rigging games by buying refereeing decisions as well as agreeing the outcome of some matches. As a result of the investigation, five clubs were punished, namely Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Reggina and the Old Lady. Four of these clubs ended up eventually receiving points deductions coupled with financial punishments; Juventus had to make their way to Italy’s second tier, the Serie B. In addition to this, the club were stripped of their 2005 and 2006 league titles.
Today, the tragedy of 2006 could not seem further from Turin, the north Italian home of Juventus. The club have since become the only significant force in Italian football to build a genuinely football-friendly arena, the Juventus Stadium, to replace the old and rusty Stadio delle Alpi. Stadiums like the latter loom large over Italian football. Many clubs have struggled to fill their homes, partially because the facilities are not as inviting as most modern-day stadiums around the world. It is obvious that the lack of development has stifled Serie A clubs and has put them at a disadvantage against Juventus. For the latter, the story could not be more different.
Since Juventus Arena opened its gates for the 2011/12 season, Juve have not failed to win a single Serie A title, making it four in a row this summer. What is more, the club have reached this season’s Champions League final with some remarkable football along the way. The future certainly looks bright for the Bianconeri and it all began with a stadium.
There is potential for the Serie A to reach former glories and Juventus have paved the way for others. Milan and Roma are only some of the clubs that plan to build new stadiums and Italy’s top flight could literally look very different with the addition of new arenas within the next three years. Our bet is that when those changes are made, Juve will no longer win league titles with 20-point margins, placing the Serie A in Europe’s elite yet again. In the meantime however, Forza Juve!