Fiorentina feel aggrieved as Bayern stay in Europe at their expense

It was impossible not to feel the cloud of disappointment surrounding legitimately aggrieved Fiorentina fans leaving the Artemio Franchi last night. A win characterised by great team spirit and some magnificent individual performances proved insufficient of overcoming Bayern Munich on Florence’s most important football night in recent years.


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The referee’s final whistle prompted an eruption of emotion, as fans clamoured ‘thieves, thieves’. This angry reaction was not unexpected. Lying solidly in mid-table makes the fourth Champions League spot a pipe dream for the Viola this year, and this in turn may deliver the widely rumoured exits of their two goal scorers yesterday – Stevan Jovetic and Juan Manuel Vargas. Cesare Prandelli too, may be increasingly tempted by the lure of the soon-to-be vacant Italy coach position, thus ending the club’s transformation under his guidance, and leaving it in a state of disarray.

This pessimistic outlook is not unthinkable, and to some extent explains Florentine frustration, but neutral compassion derives more from the validation of Miroslav Klose’s offside goal leaked at the death of the first leg in Munich. This goal’s importance is even more pertinent in a week that began, this weekend, with a Fifa decision not to review it’s stance on the use of video technology. Resentment on the peninsula will certainly grow if Inter and AC Milan crash out of the Champions League, and Italy lose their fourth spot from Europe’s top club competition to Germany.

It’s not right to use a lone wrong decision to scapegoat the decline of Italian football since calciopoli. Arguably, Alberto Gilardino was offside in the action that led to 2-0, and Fiorentina should lament Gila’s squandered opportunity as well as accept Arjen Robben’s brilliance. But, video technology would eliminate the contentiousness of these difficult decisions, and thereby reduce fans’ discerned injustice.

A club’s future, and arguably in this case a nation’s football economy could hinge on such a decision. In the context of hugely important European TV revenues and a majority of top-level matches viewed via the medium of television, it is unjust withhold such a mechanism from referees.

In any case, now Italy can only preserve their superiority over Germany in the Uefa coefficient rankings by outperforming their clubs in both the Champions League and the Europa League. So all calcio fans, regardless of tribal allegiances, need to get behind Milan’s most famous two clubs for the sake of Italian football’s standing on the continent.


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