Why less than 10,000 fans showed up for Napoli’s latest match without Osimhen

Napoli forwards Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia || Eurosports

i

Napoli forwards Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia || Eurosports

Why less than 10,000 fans showed up for Napoli’s latest match without Osimhen

Ayoola Kelechi 20:20 - 19.01.2024

Despite fanfare for the first-ever expanded Supercoppa Italiana in Saudi Arabia, Napoli's match against Fiorentina was greeted with a sparsely populated stadium

The Supercoppa Italiana semifinal between Napoli and Fiorentina, held at Al-Awwal Park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, witnessed a surprisingly low turnout, with less than half of the stadium’s capacity turning out to watch the Partenopei.

Low attendance at Napoli-Fiorentina Supercoppa

The match, which took place on January 18, 2024, was part of a historic format change for the Supercoppa Italiana.

For the first time, the competition expanded to include four clubs instead of the usual two. Napoli, the defending Serie A champions, and Fiorentina, the 2022/23 Coppa Italia runners-up, were set to clash in this new format, as per Football Itallia. 

The primary reason for the low attendance was the local fans' expectations. Many Saudi fans had hoped to see Milan and Juventus, two of the most prominent and popular Italian football clubs, participate in the semifinal. This expectation mismatch led to a substantial number of empty seats at the Al-Awwal Park stadium.

Official Statements from Serie A and fan reactions

Ahead of the match, there was confusion among local fans and media regarding the qualification criteria for the Supercoppa.

var widgetLoaderConfig = widgetLoaderConfig || { CDN_URL: 'https://widgets.sportal365.com', APP_LINK: 'desktop', API_URL: 'https://africa.football.api.sportal365.com/', API_KEY: '2f852b4de2f3a5cf3188e74b33087bb4:2c18422f8e826a7d11aeed52edb2449e', LANG: 'en', REQUEST_INTERVAL: 30, ENABLE_BET_SLIP: false, AUTHOR: false, THEME: "light", TOURNAMENT_ORDER: "pulse_nigeria", LINK_OPTIONS_V2: { 'player' : { 'url': '/football/player/{playerId}' }, 'team' : { 'url': '/football/{teamId}' }, 'tournament': { 'url': '/football/competition/{tournamentId}' }, 'match': { 'url' : '/football/match/{matchId}', 'sort': { 'criteria': 'alphabetically', 'direction': 'asc' } }, 'configuration': { 'newWindow': false }, 'standings_tournament': { 'url': '/football/competition/{tournamentId}/standings' } } }; if (!document.querySelector('script[src="https://widgets.sportal365.com/loader.bundle.min.js"]')) { window.setTimeout(function () { let scriptCss = document.createElement('link'); scriptCss.href = 'https://www.pulsesports.ng/css/sport-widgets.css?v=1668785443'; scriptCss.rel = 'stylesheet'; scriptCss.type = 'text/css'; document.body.appendChild(scriptCss); let scriptTag = document.createElement('script'); scriptTag.src = 'https://widgets.sportal365.com/loader.bundle.min.js'; scriptTag.defer = true; scriptTag.onload = function () { window.setTimeout(function () { new SMPWidgetsLoader(widgetLoaderConfig); }, 200); }; document.head.appendChild(scriptTag); }, 0); } else { new SMPWidgetsLoader(widgetLoaderConfig); }

This confusion was addressed by Lega Serie A Luigi De Siervo in a press conference, where he explained the absence of Milan and Juventus from the competition and assured that the game between Napoli and Fiorentina would be enjoyable.

Despite these clarifications, the stadium's attendance did not reflect the usual enthusiasm associated with such events.

The official attendance for the Napoli-Fiorentina match was reported to be just 9,762 spectators, a figure considerably lower than expected for a semifinal of this stature. Neither Napoli nor Fiorentina ultras (ardent supporters) travelled to Saudi Arabia for the game. It is hoped that attendance will increase for the subsequent semifinal and the final, which will also feature Napoli.

Related content