Napoli are expecting to be crowned Serie A champions on Matchday 32 as they host Salernitana at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, and the fixture has now been pushed back by a day to accommodate any potential celebrations within 30 hours of its scheduled start time. Originally set to be played on Saturday at 15:00 CEST, a request was made to have it played after Inter vs Lazio.
Prior to the game’s rescheduling, Napoli were facing the possibility of being crowned champions on Sunday, depending on the outcome of Lazio’s trip to face Inter at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
The state of play at the top of Serie A means that the Partenopei will win their first scudetto since 1990 should they win and Lazio fail to claim all three points in Milan in the 12:30 CEST kick-off.
Sportface.it reported that the decision to request the rescheduling of the game had nothing to do with Napoli themselves, and describe Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis of having been “a non-paying spectator of these four crazy days, from Monday to Thursday, not knowing the official date and time” of a game originally due to be played on Saturday.
It took until lunchtime on Friday, April 28 for Lega Serie A to confirm that Napoli vs Salernitana will be played on Sunday, April 30 at 15:00 CEST. That means that their next game away at Udinese will be moved from May 2 at 20:45 to May 4 at 20:45. Another knock-on effect is that Udinese’s Matchday 34 clash with Sampdoria is pushed back one day to May 8.
Why was Napoli vs Salernitana moved back a day?
Prefect of Naples Claudio Polomba is thought to have been the driving force behind the request to have the game moved back a day, for apparent reasons of public order.
There appears to have been a desire to have Napoli’s inevitable scudetto celebrations begin at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. The celebrations, though are likely to continue for a long time in Naples and parts of Campania.
Udinese vs Napoli also moved
The decision has had a lot of knock-on effects, and paints a bad image of Serie A‘s organisation, or lack thereof. Moving the game to Sunday means that Napoli’s Matchday 33 fixture away at Udinese has to be moved, as they could not be expected to play on Sunday and then Tuesday.
Naturally, the decision has brought criticism from fans of Salernitana and Udinese, as well as neutrals. Many fans of both opposing teams would have had plans in place for weeks to attend the game only to have those torn up at the last minute. It should also be noted that there are countless Napoli supporters also enraged by the decision, with plenty who don’t reside in Naples having booked flights, trains and accommodation to be in the city.
It is also worth noting that Inter won the 2020/21 Serie A title without playing, as Atalanta dropping points away at Sassuolo saw the Nerazzurri crowned champions then. On that occasion, there were no requests to have fixtures rearranged, though that was during the COVID-19 pandemic when large gatherings were still not permitted in Northern Italy.