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Serie A creates new league


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Italy's top football division Serie A is poised to split from Serie B to form a new league Lega Calcio Serie A.

The two divisions have been unable to reach an agreement over finance and Serie A is set to copy the formation of England's Premier League.

The Premier League increased its share of television revenue after breaking away from the other divisions in 1992.

"Nineteen Serie A clubs today decided to create the 'Lega Calcio Serie A'," said a statement by the new league.

"The decision was made because of the impossibility of reaching an understanding with the Serie B clubs" the statement added.

Italian top-flight clubs are determined to close the gap on Premier League sides, who have increasingly dominated European competition.

The Premier League is the richest in the world and has had three teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the last two seasons, while top-flight English sides have been involved in the competitions last four finals.

This time it's for real. I'm not happy but it was necessary

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini

It is believed that only relegated-threatened Lecce voted against the proposal for Serie A to split from Serie B, the only other fully professional division in Italy.

"We have created a new league for Serie A," said Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini after Thursday's meeting. "This time it's for real. I'm not happy but it was necessary."

Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy's employers' association, has been proposed as the president of the new league.

But the formation of Lega Calcio Serie A leaves the current Serie B facing an uncertain future.

The second-tier division did not have a television agreement last season and only struck a new one shortly before the start of the current campaign, while many clubs in the division have recently experienced financial problems.


The Lega Calcio has split between Serie A and B, effectively creating a sort of Premier League in Italy from 2010-11.

Since 1946 the Lega Calcio represented all the clubs in the top two tiers, but the inability to decide on how the money would be split has seen the big sides break away.

“We have created the new Lega Serie A,” announced Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini upon leaving the meeting in Rome.

“Am I satisfied? No, but it was necessary.”

Only Lecce did not take part in the request to split from Serie B sides, but the 19-club vote was the majority needed for this radical step.

Maurizio Beretta has been named the man who will be in charge of this new top flight union of clubs.

“I am honoured to put myself at the service of the clubs to adopt a more European and international approach in a sector where we have the potential for extraordinary results,” said Beretta.

“The mandate is clear, we will take the first steps to construct a Lega A and there are several details that need to be whittled down. The process will develop over the next 12 months.”

Beretta was the candidate to be the new Lega Calcio President, but the disagreements over numerous meetings prompted this new role.

It also means an interim President for the Lega Calcio in its existing form must be chosen because the clubs failed to elect a new leader.

“We are starting work now so that this Lega A can be operational from July 1 2010,” commented Milan Vice-President and former Lega Calcio President Adriano Galliani.

“Next year there should be no particular problems because we have already agreed on the division of money within Serie A and between A and B. From 2010 there will be separate Lega entities for A, B and C.”


Serie B clubs are furious at the decision to create an Italian Premier League with claims “this has been planned for a long time.”

Several meetings of the Lega Calcio – the union of Serie A and B clubs – failed to elect a new President or decide on the division of income, so this evening the top flight sides announced they were forming a new Lega Serie A from 2010-11.

“It is a sad day,” said current Lega Calcio President Antonio Matarrese of the split for the first time since 1946.

“It’s likely that riches cause problems in families and some people can get drunk on too much money. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do this and another to actually do it, as there’s a long way to go yet.”

It is essentially what happened in England in 1992 when the Premier League was created, freeing up television rights and stadium regulations for the big clubs.

This has been considered responsible for making the English game the most lucrative in the sport and Italian sides feel they must adopt a similar system to return to success in Europe.

Serie A provide ‘parachute payments’ to every Serie B club each season and have long been irritated at the split of television rights, which from 2010 will be dealt with individually for each division.

“After approving the general guidelines, the board was asked to vote on the rule proposed by Serie A that would effectively have cut Serie B’s power out of the general meetings,” read a statement by the Serie B clubs.

“When this move was not approved, the Serie A Presidents abandoned the meeting and handed Maurizio Beretta the mandate to form a new Lega just for the top flight.

“Serie B expressed its deep dissent for both the decision and the way it was handled, as clearly this has been planned for a long time.

“We will vigorously make our voices heard to the authorities and defend the needs of professional football, which are not recognised in the interests of the big clubs.”


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