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Italian Football Leagues

Italian Football Leagues

The governing board of Italian football is the  Federazione Italiana  Giuoco  Calcio  (FIGC) or Italian Football Federation.  It is often called just Federcalcio. Calcio is the word for football (soccer) in Italian.  

MENS ITALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUES

Professional

Italian Serie A gets considered the epitome of Italian football. There are 20 teams that make up this football league, out of which three teams get relegated each year. The top four teams are considered eligible for the UEFA Champions League. 

The Italian football season goes from August through May of each year.  Every club plays each other team two times, once at home and once away.  This adds up to every team playing 38 games.  The teams receive three points if they win, one point if they tie and no points if they lose.

In Serie A, the top four teams automatically go to the UEFA Champions League.  The fifth ranking team, along with the Coppa Italia winner move on to the UEFA Europa League Tournament.  At the end of the season, the three lowest ranked teams face relegation to Serie B.

Serie B is the second division. Each year, the top three teams can get promoted to the first division, conversely, the bottom four teams get relegated to Serie C.

Serie C is the third division. The top four teams in this division get promoted to the second division (Serie B).  All three divisions contain 20 domestic football teams.

SEMI-PRO / AMATEUR FOOTBALL

Serie D is run by Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.  It is officially considered non-professional, but some consider it semi-professional because teams from Serie D are promoted to Serie C (professional football). 

Every year, the top team from each division is promoted to Serie C, and the lowest 9 teams from Lega Pro are relegated to Serie D.

There are five additional non-professional leagues in the Italian football system. 

  • Eccellenza
  • Promozione
  • Prima Categoria
  • Seconda Categoria 
  • Terza Categoria

There are a few Universities in Italy that stand out for their football programs.  These include The University of Tuscan Hills and The University of Naples.  In fact, the University of Naples organizes a weeklong tournament involving 64 teams in the country!

WOMEN’S ITALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUES

Professional

The top tier of women’s football in Italy is called Serie A TIMvision.  (It is named for its main sponsor, TIMvision)  The Italian football Federation began overseeing this in the 2018-2019 season.  

Next is Serie B, it is known as Serie BKT (again named for its main sponsor). It was established in 1929.

The third tier is Serie C.  It is overseen by the Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Lega Pro).

Regional 

The fourth tier is called the Eccellenza.  These are regional leagues.

The fifth tier is the Promozione.  These are the lowest regional divisions of women’s football.

NATIONAL VS. FOREIGN PLAYERS

The Italian footballing culture has been a sirens call to many foreign players. Paul Pogba, a French national, revolutionized his career at Juventus before he moved to Manchester United.   Romelu Lukaku is a Dutch player who is currently enjoying a great run of form at Inter Milan.

Commercially, few can compare with Cristiano Ronaldo who has greatly shone focus on Italian teams since his $100 m transfer from Real Madrid.

It is interesting to note that the Italian national players have not made as much of a mark on world football. Italy couldn’t qualify for the World Cup in 2018.  They have been working hard to ensure they return to their heights of 2006.  This means they need outstanding offensive players.  This has been a weakness for them for over a decade since players such as Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti retired.

YOUTH PROGRAMS

AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atlanta, and Juventus are some formidable football academies globally.  Since 2012, Juventus college has brought some of the best talents in the world. The Juventus technical director has stated that they have followed the same module that Ajax created for recruiting youngsters.

Italian football academies recruit youth players between the ages of 11  to 16 years of age.   

Click here for a link of soccer academies in Europe.