Italian football president aims to reduce Serie A by two teams in near future

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Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio hopes a plan to reduce Serie A, Italy’s top-flight league, from 20 to 18 teams will be approved this year.

The initiative, which would also see second division Serie B reduced from 22 to 20 teams, is intended to resurrect the once proud and dominant league by consolidating the league’s resources (television revenue) and splitting the funds fewer ways. A timeframe for the reduction is yet to be given.

Serie A recently signed a new television rights deal with Sky Italia and Mediaset, which will begin with the 2015-16 season, worth nearly 1 billion euros per season. As is the case in Spain’s La Liga, money from the television rights deal is not distributed evenly among the league’s teams, but rather doled out discriminately to the league’s biggest clubs.

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“The Italian sports system is imploding,” Tavecchio told RAI state radio. “The resources are diminishing. … (The reductions) can return Italian football to a better level.”

Last year’s champions Juventus took home 91.3 million euros — which could rise well above 2015-16’s projection of 123 million, if the reduction of teams takes place — while 17th-place finishers Sassuolo collected just 20.8 million euros. The television rights deal accounts for 59 percent of Serie A clubs’ total revenues, the highest such number of any of Europe’s top leagues.

Italy currently ranks fourth in UEFA’s country coefficient system, which determines how many clubs each league places in the Champions League. Serie A lost one of its four Champions League berths, which went to the German Bundesliga at the start of the 2012-13 season.