Monday, 21 April 2008

Abete defends status quo

Italian Football Federation President Giancarlo Abete has dismissed the calls for Serie A to be downsized to 18 teams in the future.

A spate of injuries and the failure Italian clubs in the UEFA Champions League this season have led some to call for a reduction of the number of teams participating in the top flight.

"It would be an error," remarked Abete, who insists the recent problems are not due to packed fixture schedules. "There are many injuries, but the problem is not the structure of the championship because four of the five most important Leagues in Europe have 20 teams."

Serie A was only extended from 18 to 20 teams four years ago, but the circumstances around that change caused much controversy around the peninsula.

"Italy is not an exception. To think that a reduction would increase the standard of our teams is folly. Our calcio is very much alive even if we have become pessimistic in difficult times."

However, he admitted that any decision lies in the hands of the clubs. "A championship with fewer teams is doable only with a consensus formed by the clubs and the Lega Calcio."

Speaking on Radio Anch'io Sport, the 57-year-old also shed light on the future of Italy coach Roberto Donadoni.

"Between me and Roberto there is a lot more understanding than people think. Now we look forward to Euro 2008 and I can assure you Donadoni is very motivated."

Donadoni has yet to renew his contract with the Azzurri and will not re-open talks with the FIGC until after the European Championship this summer.

That has lead to mass speculation that Marcello Lippi will return to the Nazionale's bench in August.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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