Italian football's top-flight league, Serie A, has confirmed that it will remain a 20-team division. This decision thwarts an attempt by some of the leading Italian clubs to reduce the number of participants to 18.
According to reports from the BBC and various Italian media outlets, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan and Roma were the only four clubs in favour of reducing the number of teams in Serie A.
However, their proposal was met with opposition from all other 16 teams who voted against it during a league assembly held at its Milan headquarters.
Concerns over a crowded fixture schedule in Italy
The idea of cutting down on team numbers has been circulating for some time now due to concerns over an increase in games played by top clubs and players.
Serie A released a statement confirming that following this vote:
"The league’s current format of 20 teams has been confirmed."
This decision comes as Serie A's top four teams prepare for participation in next season's Champions League which is set to adopt a new format. Teams will have two more matches before qualification for knockout stages is decided - adding more games onto an already crowded calendar.
Despite this added pressure on top-tier clubs' schedules, lesser-known teams within Serie A refused to agree to reduce the division size - viewing such proposals as primarily serving larger club interests rather than those across the board.
Lecce President, Saverio Sticchi Damiani, said:
“I’m against it just like all the other medium and small clubs are. I don’t understand why we should deny so many teams their chance to dream."
Serie A to push on with submitting new reforms to the FIGC
In addition to maintaining its current structure, Serie A also announced approval for proposed reforms aimed at improving Italian football overall. These reforms are set for presentation next month before Italy’s governing federation FIGC.
Furthermore, during an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for March 11th, the league plans on pushing FIGC towards granting them greater autonomy - a similar model adopted by England’s Premier League.
This move was hinted at earlier this month by Serie A president Lorenzo Casini.
Lorenzo Casini, President of Serie A, said:
"Currently, the system does not give Serie A the autonomy and decision-making weight it should have with respect to economic weight."
The decision to maintain the 20-team division in Serie A is a significant one, reflecting the balance of power within Italian football. While it may not satisfy the needs of larger clubs, it does ensure that all teams have an equal opportunity to compete and succeed - a principle that lies at the heart of sportsmanship.
As Italian football fans watch these developments unfold, they can look forward to an exciting season ahead with more games and potentially more surprises on the horizon, and a fairness of competition upheld.