Numbers prove Serie A should play festive fixtures - Serie B president
The president of Serie B believes Italy's top flight should follow their lead and consider playing fixtures over the festive period.
Serie B introduced games on Boxing Day in 2012, moving them to Christmas Eve this season with the next round of matches taking place on Dec. 30 before a three-week winter break.
The games which took place on Dec. 24 proved to be a hit with a 10 percent increase in average crowd figures for a full round of fixtures, and Serie B president Andrea Abodi says Serie A should take notice.
"Playing over the Christmas festivities has become a tradition, even if there are still people, like the [Italian FA] president [Carlo] Tavecchio who still has not worked it out, and we are going to continue in years to come because the numbers are proving us right," Abodi told Radio Sportiva.
"We've not had any problems with the players who agreed on the calendar around the festive period and the subsequent three-week break. We are at the service of the fans, not the other way around."
Boxing Day football has long since been a tradition in the English Premier League and Serie A officials did give the idea some thought last January after Serie B once again showed impressive results from playing over Christmas for the fifth season running.
"It was horrible to see the two main European leagues, in Spain and England, playing over the Christmas break while we weren't," AC Milan's general manager Adriano Galliani said after the first Lega Serie A meeting of 2016 saw the item discussed, but ultimately rejected. "We considered playing on the 23rd and the 26th and then starting the season again on Jan. 15, but there was no consensus so we'll have to talk about it again."
With the latest success from Serie B, and with the 2017-18 season due to end earlier because of the World Cup, the notion may be on the agenda again at the Lega Serie A's next meeting in January.
The last round of Serie A fixtures in 2016 was on Dec. 21 and 22 with the next games due to be played on the weekend of Jan. 7 and 8.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.