Italian baseball clubs had until last night 23:59 (11:59 PM) Central European Time to make clear if they wanted to play the 2020 season or not.
After a lot of rumours floating around in the past weeks about Parma and the two Nettuno representatives stepping back, the FIBS (Italian Baseball and Softball Federation) announced on its website today that only one club has decided not to play the 2020 Serie A1 season.
In the past weeks, the FIBS had handed out 240,000 Euro for medical facilities at the 240 clubs in Italy and another whopping 640,000 Euro for a variety of purposes: 40,000 Euro for air- or sea travel for clubs that need to go to or from Sicily and Sardinia to play games, 110,000 for clubs that had registered for the various championships (Serie A1, A2, B, C), 140,000 Euro for other travel costs and 350,000 Euro based on the number of youth members per club. With the current weak financial state of Italian baseball, one may wonder how the FIBS is able to pull that rabbit out of its hat. Sure, many clubs complained that the medical protocols would cost them a lot of money and therefore threatened to step back (there are the rumours again) but giving this kind of money merely looks like a “bribe” to convince clubs to participate in the various championships.
Anyhow, after all the hassle of the past weeks, only one club has decided to shy away from playing the 2020 Serie A1 season: Rangers Redipuglia from Fogliano Redipuglia, a community of a bit less than 3,000 inhabitants, that is situated about 20 km Northwest of Trieste. One can wonder how a small community like this is able to support a (semi-)professional team.
The result is that the 2020 season in the Serie A1 will be played with an odd number of teams unless the FIBS decides to add one of the teams that were denied a spot at the Serie A1 at the end of last year.
After all the rumors of at least four clubs stepping back from the Serie A1, the situation isn’t that bad at all. With nine clubs still, a decent championship can be played.
At the lower levels of Italian baseball, a lot more clubs have decided to withdraw:
A2 baseball (3): CUS Brescia (group A); New Black Panthers Ronchi dei Legionari, Cervignano Baseball (group B)
B baseball (2): White Sox Buttrio, Junior Parma (group C)
C baseball (6): Sannazzaro BC, Bulldogs Athletic Club Cernusco Sul Naviglio, Old Rags Lodi renounces the 2nd team (group A); Jacks Torino (group C); Polisportiva Azzurra Villafranca (group D); Junior Parma (group F); Randazzese (group M)