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Italy blocks non-EU players

The Italian Football Federation is to limit the number of players from non-EU countries in its top divisions.

New legislation
The FIGC will introduce new legislation next season permitting Serie A teams to sign just one non-EU player, and only to replace a non-EU player already at the club. "From next season all clubs wanting to acquire a player from outside the EC will first be required to give up another," said the president of the Italian Footballers Association, Sergio Campana.

Exception to rule
Top-flight sides will be allowed to retain their current non-EU players. Meanwhile, teams promoted to Serie A next season will have a quota of three non-EU players. "The only sides exempt from these new regulations will be the [four] newly promoted sides [in Serie A], who can have a total of three non-EU players," Campana said. The aim, he added, is to guarantee the "predominance of Italian players at the highest levels of domestic competition".

Lower divisions
The FIGC also imposed a complete block on non-EU players entering Serie B and Serie C, also effective as from the start of the 2003/04 campaign. There will be no restriction, however, on clubs fielding all their non-EU players in a match.