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Italian Football Championship

This article is about the Italian football league. For other uses, see Serie A (disambiguation).
Serie A
Country  Italy
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1898 officially
1929 as round-robin tournament
Number of teams 20
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Serie B
Domestic cup(s) Coppa Italia
Supercoppa Italiana
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Juventus (29th title)
Most championships Juventus (29 titles)
TV partners SKY Italia
Mediaset Premium
2013–14 Serie A

Serie A (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛːrje ˈa]), also called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since the 1929–30 season. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new league, the Lega Serie A, was created for the 2010–11 season. Serie A is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world. Serie A was considered the best league in the world in the '90s, up until mid-2000. [1] Serie A has produced the highest number of European Cup finalists: Italian clubs have reached the final of the competition on a record twenty-six different occasions, winning the title twelve times.[2] Serie A is ranked 4th among European leagues according to UEFA's league coefficient behind the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga, which is based on the performance of Italian clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League.[3] It also ranked 5th in world according to the first trends of the 2011 IFFHS rating.[4]

In its current format, the Italian Football Championship was revised from having regional and interregional rounds, to a single-tier league from the 1929–30 season onwards. The championship titles won before 1929 are officially recognised by FIGC as a championship in the same way the ones since then are. The 1945–46 season, when the league was played over two geographical groups due to the ravages of WWII, is not statistically considered, even if its title is fully official.[5]

The league hosts three of the world's most famous clubs as Juventus, Milan and Internazionale, all founding members of the G-14, a group which represented the largest and most prestigious European football clubs; Serie A was the only league to produce three founding members.[6] More players have won the coveted Ballon d'Or award while playing at a Serie A club than any other league in the world.[7] Milan is one of two clubs with the most official international titles in the world.[8] Juventus, Italy's most successful club of the 20th century[9] and the most successful Italian team,[10] is tied for fourth in Europe and eighth in the world in the same ranking.[11] The club is the only one in the world to have won all possible official continental competitions and the world title.[12][13][14] Internazionale, following their achievements in the 2009–10 season, became the first Italian team to have achieved The Treble.[15]


For most of Serie A's history there were 16 or 18 clubs competing at the top level; however, since 2004–05 there have been 20 clubs altogether. A season (1947–1948) was played with 21 teams for political reasons. Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history;

  • 18 clubs = 1929–1934
  • 16 clubs = 1934–1942
  • 18 clubs = 1942–1946
  • 20 clubs = 1946–1947
  • 21 clubs = 1947–1948
  • 20 clubs = 1948–1952
  • 18 clubs = 1952–1967
  • 16 clubs = 1967–1988
  • 18 clubs = 1988–2004
  • 20 clubs = 2004–present

During the league, from September to May, each club plays each of the other teams twice; once at home and once away, totaling 38 games for each team by the end of the season. Therefore, in Italian football a true round-robin format is used. In the first half of the season, called the andata, each team plays once against each league opponent, for a total of 19 games. In the second half of the season, called the ritorno, the teams play in exactly the same order that they did in the first half of the season, the only difference being that home and away situations are switched. Since the 1994-1995 season, teams were awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss.

Since Italy is currently rated as the fourth European countries in terms of club football ratings,[16] the top three teams in the Serie A qualified for the UEFA Champions League (from the 2012-13 season). The top two teams qualify directly to the group phase, while the third-placed team enters the competition at the playoff qualifying round and must win a two-legged knockout tie in order to enter the group phase. Teams finishing 4th and 5th qualify for the UEFA Europa League Tournament. A third UEFA Europa League spot is reserved for the winner of the Coppa Italia. If the Coppa Italia champion has already qualified for the major European tournament by placing in the top three of Serie A, the third UEFA Europa League spot goes to the losing finalist. If both Coppa Italia finalists finish among the top five teams in Serie A, the 6th classified team in Serie A is awarded the UEFA Europa League spot. The three lowest placed teams are relegated to Serie B.

Before the 2005–06 season if two or more teams were tied in points for first place, for only one spot in a European tournament, or in the relegation zone, teams would play tie-breaking games after the season was over to determine which team would be champion, or be awarded a European tournament spot, or be saved or relegated. Since 2005–06, if two or more teams end the season with the same number of points, the ordering is determined by their head-to-head records. In case two or more teams have same total points and same head-to-head records, goal difference becomes the secondary deciding factor.


Serie A, as it is structured today, began in 1929. From 1898 to 1922 the competition was organised into regional groups. Because of ever growing teams attending regional championships, FIGC split the CCI (Italian Football Confederation) in 1921. When CCI teams rejoined the FIGC created two interregional divisions renaming Categories into Divisions and splitting FIGC sections into two North-South leagues. In 1926 due to internal crises FIGC changed internal settings adding southern teams to the national divisions which lead to 1929-30 final settlement. No title was awarded in 1927 after Torino were stripped of the championship by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Torino were declared champions in the 1948-49 season following a plane crash near the end of the season in which the entire team was killed.

The Serie A Championship title is often referred to as the scudetto (small shield) because since the 1924–25 season the winning team will bear a small coat of arms with the Italian tricolour on their strip in the following season. The most successful club is Juventus with 29 championships, followed by Milan (18), Internazionale (18), and Genoa (9). From 2004–05 onwards an actual trophy was awarded to club on the pitch after the last turn of the championship. The trophy, called Coppa Campioni d'Italia, is official since the 1960–61 season, but between 1961 and 2004 it was consigned to the winning clubs at the head office of the Lega Nazionale Professionisti.

On 30 April 2009, Serie A announced a split from Serie B. Nineteen of the twenty clubs voted in favour of the move in an argument over television rights. Relegation-threatened Lecce voted against. Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy's employers' association, will be the president of the new league.[17][18][19][20]

Television rights

In the past individual clubs competing in the league had the rights to sell their broadcast rights to specific channels in Italy, unlike in most other European countries. The three broadcasters in Italy are the satellite broadcaster SKY Italia, along with terrestrial broadcasters Mediaset Premium and Dahlia TV for their own pay television networks; RAI is allowed to broadcast only highlights (in exclusive from 13:30 to 22:30 CET). This is a list of television rights in Italy (until 2009–2010):

For the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons, Serie A clubs negotiating club TV rights collectively rather than individually for the first time since 1998–99. The domestic rights for those two seasons were sold for €1.149bn to Sky Italia.[21]


Global rights for the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons were sold for €181.5M to MP & Silva.[22]

In countries and territories outside of Italy, the league is broadcast on adventure time Raitalia (numerous countries in several continents), BT Sport (United Kingdom), Setanta Sports (Ireland), Canal+ (Spain), beIN Sport USA (United States as well as Canada while not having a broadcast channel), TV Esporte Interativo, Rede Gazeta, TV Cultura, ESPN Brasil, Sportv (Brazil) and ESPN Latin America (Latin America), CCTV5 (China), KBS Sports (South Korea), Al Jazeera Sports (Middle East and North Africa), Astro SuperSport (Malaysia), TVRI (Indonesia), Neo Sports, TrueVisions (Thailand), mio TV (Singapore), ESPN STAR (India), Sport1 (Netherlands), Canal+ Poland (Poland), NTV Turkey (Turkey), bTV Action and RING.BG (Bulgaria), Digi Sport (Hungary), Arena Sport, Sport Klub (Serbia), SuperSport (Albania), Supersport Kosova (Kosovo), In televizija (Montenegro), Telelatino, Sport 5 (Israel), HiTV (Nigeria), Sport1 (Lithuania), Canal9 (Denmark and Norway) and Sportbox (Mongolia).

In the 1990s Serie A was at its most popular in the UK when it was shown on Channel 4, although it has actually appeared on more UK channels than any other league, rarely staying in one place for long since 2002. Serie A has appeared in the UK on BSB Sports Channel (1990–91), Sky Sports (1991–92), Channel 4 (1992–2002), Eurosport (2002–04), Setanta Sports and Bravo (2004–07), Channel Five (2007–08), ESPN (2009–13) and BT Sport (since 2013). In Mexico, Televisa Deportes Network HD two games delay in the week.


Club Winners Runners-up Championship seasons
1905, 1925–26, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1957–58, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1966–67, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1976-77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1994–95, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2011–12, 2012–13
1901, 1906, 1907, 1950–51, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1967–68, 1978–79, 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2010–11
1909–10, 1919–20, 1929–30, 1937–38, 1939–40, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1962–63, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1970–71, 1979–80, 1988–89, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
1898, 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1914–15, 1922–23, 1923–24
1927–28, 1942–43, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1975–76
1924–25, 1928–29, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1938–39, 1940–41, 1963–64
Pro Vercelli
1908, 1909, 1910–11, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1920–21, 1921–22 (CCI)
1941–42, 1982–83, 2000–01
1973–74, 1999–2000
1955–56, 1968–69
1986–87, 1989–90
1921–22 (FIGC)

Bold indicates clubs currently playing in the top division.

  • A decoration was awarded to Spezia in 2002 by FIGC for the 1944 wartime championship. However, the Federation has stated that it cannot be considered as a scudetto.
  • The 1926–27 title was initially won by Torino, but was rescinded due to the Allemandi match fixing scandal.

Serie A clubs

For more details see List of Italian Football Championship clubs

Prior to 1929, many clubs competed in the top level of Italian football as the earlier rounds were competed up to 1922 on a regional basis then interregional up to 1929. Below is a list of Serie A clubs who have competed in the competition when it has been a league format (63 in total).

Seasons in Serie A

The teams in bold compete in Serie A currently. Internazionale is the only team that has played Serie A football in every season.

Serie A members for 2013–14

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Locations of the 2013–14 Serie A teams

The following twenty clubs will complete in Serie A during the 2013–14 season.

Finishing position
in 2012–13
First season in Serie A First season of current spell in Serie A
Atalanta 15th 1937-38 2011-12
Bologna 13th 1929-30 2008-09
Cagliari 11th 1964-65 2004-05
Catania 8th 1954-55 2006-07
Chievo 12th 2001-02 2008-09
Fiorentina 4th 1931-32 2004-05
Genoa 17th 1929-30 2007-08
Internazionale 9th 1929-30 1929-30
Juventus Champions 1929-30 2007-08
Lazio 7th 1929-30 1988-89
Livorno Serie B 3rd1 1929-30 2013-14
Milan 3rd 1929-30 1983-84
Napoli 2nd 1929-30 2007-08
Parma 10th 1990-91 2009-10
Roma 6th 1929-30 1952-53
Sampdoria 14th 1946-47 2012-13
Sassuolo Serie B Champions 2013-14 2013-14
Torino 16th 1929-30 2012-13
Udinese 5th 1950-51 1995-96
Verona Serie B Runners-up 1957-58 2013-14

1 Promoted as playoff winner.


Non-EU players

Unlike La Liga, which imposed a quota on the number of non-EU players on each club, Serie A clubs could sign as many non-EU players as available on domestic transfer. But since the 2003–04 season a quota has been imposed on each of the clubs limiting the number of non-EU, non-EFTA and non-Swiss players who may be signed from abroad each season,[23] following provisional measures[24] were had been introduced in the 2002–03 season, which allowed Serie A & B clubs to sign only one non-EU player in the 2002 summer transfer window.

In the middle of the 2000–01 season, the old quota system was abolished, which no longer limited each team to having more than 5 non-EU players and using no more than 3 in each match.[24][25] Concurrent with the abolishment of the quota, FIGC had investigated footballers that used fake passports. Alberto and Warley, Alejandro Da Silva and Jorginho Paulista of Udinese,[26] Fábio Júnior and Gustavo Bartelt of Roma,[27] Dida of Milan, Álvaro Recoba of Inter, Thomas Job, Francis Zé, Jean Ondoa of Sampdoria, Jeda and Dede of Vicenza were banned in July 2001, for 6 months to 1 year.[28] However, most of the bans were subsequently reduced.

The number of non-EU players was reduced from 265 in 2002–03 season to 166 in 2006–07 season.[29] It also included players got EU status after their countries assessed into the EU (see 2004 and 2007 enlargement), made players likes Adrian Mutu, Valeri Bojinov, Marek Jankulovski and Marius Stankevičius no longer consider as non-EU players.

The rule had minor change in August 2004,[30] June 2005,[31] June 2006.[32][33] and June 2007.[34]

Since the 2008–09 season, 3 quotas have been awarded to clubs that do not have non-EU players in their squad (previously only newly promoted clubs could had 3 quota); Clubs that have one non-EU player have 2 quotas. Those clubs that have 2 non-EU players, are awarded 1 quota and 1 conditional quota, which is awarded after: 1) Transferred 1 non-EU player abroad, or 2) Release 1 non-EU player as free agent, or 3) A non-EU player received EU nationality. Clubs with 3 or more non-EU players, have 2 conditional quotas, but releasing two non-EU players as free agent, will only have 1 quota instead of 2.[35] Serie B and Lega Pro clubs cannot sign non-EU player from abroad, except those followed the club promoted from Serie D.

Big clubs with many foreigners, usually borrow quotas from other clubs that have few foreigners or no foreigners, in order to sign more non-EU players. Adrian Mutu joined Juventus via Livorno in 2005, at that time Romania was not a member of EU. Other case likes Júlio César, Victor Obinna and Maxwell who joined Internazionale from Chievo (first two) and Empoli respectively.

On 2 July 2010, the above conditional quota reduced back to 1, however if a team did not have any non-EU players, that team could still sign up to 3 non-EU players.[36][37][38]

FIFA World Players of the Year

1Player was a member of the club for the first half of the calendar year (The second part of a finished season - January to May)
2Player was a member of the club for the second half of the calendar year (The first part of a new season - August to December)

Official match ball

  • 2007–2008: Nike T90 Aerow II
  • 2008–2009: Nike T90 Omni
  • 2009–2010: Nike T90 Ascente
  • 2010–2011: Nike T90 Tracer
  • 2011–2012: Nike Seitiro
  • 2012–2013: Nike Maxim
  • 2013–2014: Nike Incyte

UEFA ranking

UEFA Country Ranking at the end of the 2013-14 season: (Previous season (2010–11) rank in italics)

  • 01 La Liga
  • 02 Premier League
  • 03 Bundesliga
  • 04 Serie A
  • 05 Primeira Liga
  • 06 Ligue 1
  • 07 Süper Lig
  • 08 Eredivisie
  • 09 Ukrainian Premier League
  • 12 Russian Football Premier League
  • 13 Superleague Greece
  • 14 Belgian Pro League
  • 15 Danish Superliga
  • 16 Liga I
  • 17 Scottish Premier League
  • 18Norwegian Premier League

(see UEFA coefficients full list for more information)

List of Lega Serie A presidents

  • Maurizio Beretta, 2010–present.[39][40]

See also


External links

  • Official Site
  • FIGC Official Site
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