The Swiss Football League continue to face ongoing challenges

FOOTBALL

Interview with Marco Degennaro, GM of Sion - on the management of the coronavirus by the Swiss Football League

The Swiss Football League continue to face ongoing challenges
Marco Degennaro. © Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

The Swiss Football League continue to face ongoing challenges

Marco Degennaro. © Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

Pandemic management is the talk of the day when it comes to football - The challenge between the two expected last night, has been postponed until today after a case of contagion among the players of Neuchâtel.

We spoke with Marco Degennaro, general manager of SION.

Marco Degennaro, the last chapter of this story has led to the postponement of your game at home with Xamax, it has been rescheduled for tonight at 6.15pm. What was the first reaction in the Valais house?

‘Always the same, unfortunately, since things don't change, and you never learn from mistakes. We are faced with a surreal and a poorly managed situation, but we can only pay for the consequences in terms of organisation and safety. As we see it, the health aspect continues to be incomprehensible: the priority must be health, not the end of the championship’.

Are you feeling alone in this fight?

‘We know we are not. Even other clubs, in fact, think exactly like us. Whoever organises the tournament sees it in another way, with all that follows. Also, at the calendar level: by postponing the Neuchâtel challenge by 24 hours, in fact, we will have a domino effect. On Saturday, for example, we will not be able to host Lugano as expected. The game will be played on Sunday afternoon, but I imagine that the bianconeri had already organised their trip to Zion and that now they have to revise their plans. In short, the problems concern everyone and I am sure that my colleagues, in Ticino as in internal Switzerland, are as surprised as I am, not to say shocked, by this way of managing things’.

Players have begun to show disappointment. On Twitter, one of your top elements, Pajtim Kasami, called the League's attitude "scandalous" and "insolent". Do you feel the discomfort in the locker room?

"Of course. Indeed, it is much more than just a perception. On Tuesday evening, when news of an infected Xamax player spread, our team was already on the bus to reach Neuchâtel: well, the boys wanted to go back. The idea of ​​playing in a similar situation, of great insecurity, puts them in difficulty. Everyone has family, everyone meets friends and relatives. I repeat: the priority must be health

The battle of Zion began several months ago ...

«Indeed, our position has been clear for some time: once we decided to resume the Super and Challenge championships, we had to provide mandatory tests for everyone, at regular intervals of 4-6 days, as indeed happens in the other countries where resumed playing football. This has a cost, yes, but it is a cost that the federation, together with the clubs, can and must assume in order not to endanger health. The purely sporting discourse - titles, cups, relegations and promotions - comes later’.

Pajtim Kasami del Sion spared no criticism of SFL. © Keystone / Bott
Pajtim Kasami del Sion spared no criticism of SFL. © Keystone / Bott

The sporting regularity of the tournament is called into question ...

‘To see a team fighting for the title face an Under 21 formation, as happened on Tuesday evening between Basel and Zurich, is simply ridiculous. Just as it is ridiculous to see veterans called back to play such a race. I am not saying this against these poor players: they certainly did their best. It's ridiculous for championship fairness. Things cannot be managed this way: we haven't done the tests, we have a calendar that forces us to play four games in eight days, Zurich field U21 ... The Swiss fans are not happy, neither are our sponsors. We have no income and we have not yet seen the money that the League has promised us after an "amazing agreement" with the Confederation. What is left of the football show? One game a day,

Chirstian Constantin and Marco Degennaro in a 2015 image. © CdT / Archivio
Chirstian Constantin and Marco Degennaro in a 2015 image. © CdT / Archivio

The postponement of Xamax-Sion was decided with your team already in Neuchâtel. What did this move entail?

‘To begin with we had to change hotels, because obviously we had booked one night and there was no more room for the following one. Yesterday, then, the team had to train and we had to find a solution for this too, going to look for a field. For heaven's sake, it's organisational details that are resolved with a few phone calls. The same could happen in the event of a sudden snowfall during the night. With one distinct difference: snow can be unpredictable, but coronavirus is not. We have known him for more than four months now and we should have learned something about his infection rate. We know that we are all at risk, even in our environment: we cross paths, we train in thirty, we meet managers. This is why tests are needed. We have not made them mandatory and here are the consequences.

After so many years as a manager in Swiss football, Marco Degennaro expected such an unpreparedness from the Swiss Football League?

‘Honestly, no, I'm surprised too. I did not expect that we could get this far. It's my twentieth year in Swiss football and I've had a few meetings. I have seen many, as they say. In this case, however, we are surpassing any previous record of poor foresight’.

©CdT.ch - Riproduzione riservata

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