Thursday, 28 May 2009

Another step towards a Serie A breakaway

As Italian club football prepares for Serie A to split away from Serie B in 2010, Giancarlo Abete has been appointed the Extraordinary Commissioner of the Lega Calcio - the governing body for the top two tiers of Italian football.

Giancarlo AbeteLast month the top-flight clubs took an historic decision to break away from the second tier and create their own independent league in time for the 2010-11 season.

The decided to give Maurizio Beretta the role of interim President of the 'Lega Calcio Serie A' to steer the transition and form the new league.

The subject first came to the fore following a number of disagreements between the Lega Nazionale Professionisti's (Lega Calcio) 42-member clubs over financial issues and how money from television and commercial rights should be distributed.

At the same time the top clubs have complained about not getting a bigger slice of revenue to compete against their English and Spanish counterparts in European competition and the transfer market.

As a consequence of the in-fighting, the clubs failed to elect a new Lega Calcio President within the deadline set by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

The FIGC, Italian football's governing body, announced a final deadline of 25 May for the Lega Calcio to agree on a successor to Antonio Matterese but Serie A clubs failed to attend the General Assembly and the FIGC's Federal Council has had to today appoint Federation President Abete as Extraordinary Commissioner.

"We all agreed with this nomination," said Mario Macalli, the President of Lega Pro (third and fourth tier of Italian fooball). "Abete will be totally impartial and without conflict of interest because of his position as President of the FIGC.

"We hope that within the Lega Calcio now the clubs can reach their own agreement on how to proceed."

The Serie B clubs, who would face an uncertain future after a split, have reacted furiously to the developments and say they will take the fight right to the end.

By law, the Federation had to step in and take over the running of the Lega Calcio. They will now either succeed in reaching some kind of mediated settlement or, more likely, Serie A will break away, albeit with the blessing of the Federation, because doing so outside the FIGC's control would create serious problems with UEFA and FIFA, and Italy's involvement in European and international competition.

"I want to remind myself that the 42 clubs must work together and not to squander the wealth," Abete commented after the election.

"We will first have to examine if any conditions at all exist for us to continue and work together. If not, then we will have to see if there are conditions for the birth of a new league - in a non-traumatic way, to protect the interests of the various leagues."

A meeting has been set for next Thursday for further discussions.

Serie A set for breakaway in 2010

Source: Various

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