Italy league chief wants Serie A cut to 18 teams

December 14, 2007

MILAN, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The number of teams in Serie A should be cut to 18 from 20 in order to safeguard Italian football, the head of the league has said.

Antonio Matarrese also wants the second division Serie B to be reduced to 20 teams from 22 to make sure the remaining clubs can survive amid battles for television revenues and falling attendances.

'It seems to me important that we start reasoning over a real and proper reform of football. We don't have a choice,' Matarrese told a news conference late on Thursday after a meeting between the league and the clubs.

'We can argue for months on the division of resources. The truth is there are too many of us.'

Some Serie B clubs have threatened to go on strike if they do not receive a fair television deal in current negotiations.

Thursday's meeting also discussed a proposal for losing teams to hold a guard of honour for the winner at the end of matches to foster a friendlier atmosphere on the pitch and in the stands.

However, the parties could not agree on whether to introduce the idea as a requirement and a decision was postponed.