Saturday, 5 September 2015

It's good to B back


Serie B starts this weekend, a week later than ‘Big Brother’.  It has been another topsy turvy summer with clubs being promoted, then being demoted again, before finally being kicked out of the division altogether. Catania suffered that fate this summer after they were demoted for match fixing.  Teramo, who were promoted to Serie B, found themselves being sent back to the third division for the same offence.

Legal action ensued as everyone waited to see who would finally make the 22 strong league but, late last week, the powers that be finally made a decision and announced that Virtus Entella, who were initially due to start life in Lega Pro, were handed a reprieve and the Biancocelesti had there place back in Serie B.

Ascoli, originally runners-up to Teramo in Lega Pro, were declared champions of group B and are promoted after Teramo's relegation to make up the 22 teams. It is a remarkable return for the Bianconeri as the club were only reformed in the 2014 season under the nameAscoli Picchio FC 1898.  They will reacquaint rivalries with LivornoPescaraTernana and Perugia.

Joining these teams will be two sides who were relegated from Serie A last season, Cagliari and CesenaParma were due to be the other team but their troubles have been well documented over the past few months.

As well as Ascoli, three sides have been promoted from Lega Pro. The newcomers are Novara, Salernitana and Como.

A host of clubs will be hoping to go one better this season after missing out on the Play Offs last time around. Hopes will be high for VicenzaSpezia, PerugiaPescara and Avellino.

Modena have a new coach in Serie A legend Hernan Crespo. All eyes will be on the Gialloblu as the Argentinian takes his first steps into management.  He follows in a line of former players cutting their managerial teeth in the lower leagues. Notable former players are –Attilio Tesser (Avellino) (ex Udinese who played with Zico, Davide Nicola (Bari), Mark Iuliano (Latina), Christian Panucci (Livorno) and Massimo Oddo at Pescara.  There are plenty of winners amongst those names and they will all be desperately striving to achieve promotion.  It will make for a fascinating season.

Elsewhere in Serie B, the division will be the testing ground for an innovative officiating tool that will serve to reward players for actions that promote fair play: the green card - designed to encourage good sportsmanship and rid the game of cheating.

Referees will begin this weekend awarding players green cards for a number of different deeds, which includes but are not limited to “conspicuous acts of sportsmanship” and other “acts of virtue” on the field of play. The rationale behind this new initiative is to offer a positive incentive, rather than only that of discipline, and hopefully entice players to treat the game with a greater level of respect. The green card will form another option along with the typical yellow and red cards for Serie B officials

The new card came as a response to UEFA’s request to implement a rewards system for play that represents the moral ideals of the game, particularly among youth and development leagues in the European game.

Being rewarded a green card is more of a symbolic act than yellow and red cards, but those that receive one will be noted among the official’s match report at the end of the game.

The opening weekend of fixtures are listed below, and I will be doing a weekly round up of the action right here. 

 Saturday - Cesena v Brescia

 Sunday     Ascoli v Virtus Entella

                Bari v Spezia

                Livorno v Pescara

                Modena v Vicenza

                Novara v Latina

                Perugia v Como

                Pro Vercelli v Virtus Lanciano

                Salernitana v Avellino 

                Trapani v Ternana

Monday      Cagliari v Crotone


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