Over the years, the idea of downsizing from 20 teams to 18 in Serie A has been bandied around across the Italian peninsula, but recently, the notion has really been starting to pick up traction. Many believe that only having 18 teams in Italy’s top flight would make the league more competitive and help ease a very compact fixture schedule.
Serie A only increased the league size from 18 teams to 20 in 2004, and is considering going back to an 18 team format. Players’ Association President Damiano Tommasi has already expressed his support of the idea. “A reduction in the number of teams can be agreed if it is accompanied by the right solidity of the clubs,” said President Tommasi on Monday.
Lega Serie A President Maurizio Beretta has also brought up the idea as it continues to be debated. However, going back to an 18 team league is not as simple as many make it out to be, as it would have a serious impact on the top flight, as well as on the second and third divisions. Television broadcast rights and match revenues would also be impacted by the lesser amount of fixtures.
Germany‘s Bundesliga is often brought up as a strong example of a successful 18 team league where clubs can financially support themselves and are economically stronger than many of their European counterparts.
Having two less teams competing in Serie A would definitely make the league more competitive, but with television rights playing such a pivotal part in the league’s financial stability, it doesn’t seem likely that two teams would be dropped from the top division. However, Italy can often be very unpredictable, and with the idea continuing to gain momentum, anything can happen.