Radical changes to the structure of Italian club football formed the focus of a meeting in Milan today of the presidents of Italy's 38 professional clubs.
The Lega Calcio, or Italian football league, discussed possible ways of fighting the financial problems affecting the game in Italy and at the forefront of the proposals was a new league format of two divisions comprising 20 teams each. The season would conclude with the winner of each league playing off to decide the Scudetto.
'Football is in crisis'
Lega Calcio vice-president Antonio Matarrese said: "We have been discussing some projects today and we need to study them better before changing the current system. To divide Serie A in two large groups was the main proposal today.
Every president finds this new project really interesting and we could change the format ahead of next season because football is in crisis and we have to do something about it."
Adriano Galliani, the AC Milan vice-president and Lega Calcio president, said: "There are two or three options for changing the current formula of Serie A. We will discuss them in the next meeting at the Lega Calcio. I can just say that we will try to vote for any possible changes to the current system as soon as possible."
More discussions planned
The proposals will be discussed again at the next meeting of the Lega Calcio on 14 February. In the present format, there are 18 Serie A clubs and 20 in Serie B, so implementing a new structure of 40 teams would involve bringing in two extra teams from Serie C. To effect this, only two sides, rather than four, would go down from Serie B this summer, with four coming up from Serie C.
Before the meeting Parma AC president Stefano Tanzi said: "The whole financial situation is difficult now and football is affected very much by this crisis." However, his Internazionale FC counterpart, Massimo Moratti, suggested there was no need to take radical measures. "Football is in a difficult situation but maybe it will be fine after a couple of aspirins," he said. "We don't need to be hospitalised."
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