SFL abandons playoffs in favor of ‘Scottish model’

SFL abandons playoffs in favor of 'Scottish model'

The Swiss Football League abandoned the playoffs. Meeting in Bern, the General Assembly of the SFL, with 12 votes in favor and 8 against (including Lugano and Bellinzona), decided to postpone the project to introduce playoffs for the title and for venues in Europe. Starting next season (2023–24) the “Scottish model” would be adopted, i.e. a hybrid formula with 33 rounds, followed by five more games for the best-classified of six. Even the teams that have closed the first 33 days between 7th and 12th place will play five additional matches, with nothing at stake other than a fight against relegation. A method that the SFL had adopted two years ago, but which was rejected at that time.

Recall that the decision to adopt the playoff was made only last May. In short, the idea didn’t last even six months. The challenge of the formula set by Sfl has grown exponentially, especially in the past few weeks, when fans of several teams have openly lined up. The launch of a petition has collected 60,000 signatures in just a few days, including some players, for example Briel Embolo.

So most of the 20 Super League clubs decided to accept the proposal of Zurich and its president, Ankilo Canepa, and turn to the “Scottish model”, while they did not want to touch the growth of Super League teams from 10 to 12. . .. The fate of the playoffs seemed clear even before the meeting began. In recent weeks, several clubs had openly supported Zurich’s proposal and just before the start of the meeting, even Basel, which had kept a low profile until then, declared in a press release that They want to vote against a championship finalist.

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Related to the playoffs was not the only topic on the same agenda. In fact, the representatives accepted a proposal from Winterthur, Vaduz and Will regarding the adaptation of the stadium’s requirements to participate in the Super League. From now on, a stadium will have a minimum capacity of 5,000 people, of which at least 20% seats, the guest area must have at least 600 seats and it will be possible to play a season in the highest category regardless of the stadium. Approved for Challenge League, provided that demands on safety and electronic media (such as brightness of headlights) are promptly accommodated.

Bell: ‘Too bad, let’s look ahead’

Swiss Football League committee member Michel Campana says he is displeased with the decision taken by the assembly … «I give permission to speak as an SFL member and not with FC Lugano Bibb. I think a great opportunity to bring something new and adventurous to Swiss football has been missed. In my opinion and according to the majority of the committee, the playoffs were the most appropriate model to meet the future challenges of our movement, it would have made the league more attractive to new generations and to television, with drama decisive game. Unfortunately, there was not enough courage. In a democracy, however, the decisions of the majority must be accepted – as did not after the May vote… – so we must look further. As for the credibility of Swiss football, I believe that for the next five or six years no one will want to question the format. So, however, we find ourselves with a calendar of 38 matches against the current 36, with UEFA which will soon ask for another four dates at its disposal and with a Swiss Cup that risks paying the consequences of this policy. picks up”.

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With the “Scottish model” it is not certain that everyone plays the same number of home games… « There is no ideal format with 12 teams. Each team will play 33 games (3 rounds of 11, ed) for a total of 38, plus five challenges for the title and five against relegation. We will try to make sure the teams play the same way at the end of the season. The number of matches played at home and against each opponent, but it is not necessary. If it doesn’t, we will try to compensate in the coming years.”

No more pathos on Christmas already …

Today’s decision, indeed, lays a tombstone on the introduction of the playoffs in football, a discipline that stands as the ultimate bastion of perceived sporting sanctity. The football world remains the only one in the field of team sports that strongly opposes the single-elimination formula. Proponents of the “Scottish model” claim that the playoffs do not guarantee that the strongest team will win the title and that, as a result, even a less equipped club can go to the Champions League. According to the formula desired by the SFL, the playoff for the title would be limited to a final in best of three matches between first and second, so the eighth would not be able to advance to the Champions League. But, as always, football, as perhaps the most popular sport in the world, recognizes that despite being the only player to see mayhem rather than opportunity in the playoffs, it knows more than the devil. This is as true for managers as it is for fans, who have no problem (on the contrary!) to cheer when the regular season in hockey ends and, finally, serious things begin. And so, the Swiss football league will continue to win the national champion crown practically in the middle of the season (this year the title has already been promised to the Young Boys and we are not even on Christmas!): the average first in the past eight seasons. and the difference of points between the other was 16.4. There is no one for Pathos’ title assignment, we would be worried for a place in the first qualifying round in Europe or the Conference League, or to avoid a relegation at the last breath…

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