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May 18, 2021

FIGC plans to cut Serie A to 18 teams; Google onside on piracy

Gabriele Gravina, the president of the FIGC, the Italian soccer federation, has unveiled plans to reduce the top-flight Serie A to 18 teams by the 2023-24 season.

By Tariq Saleh

Gabriele Gravina, the president of the FIGC, the Italian soccer federation, has unveiled plans to reduce the top-flight Serie A to 18 teams by the 2023-24 season.

Following a meeting of the FIGC’s federal council yesterday, Gravina revealed the proposal as part of his plans to reform domestic soccer.

Serie A has previously featured 18 clubs on multiple occasions, most recently from 1988 to 2004, before switching to 20 teams. The 20-club format has been in place for the past 17 years.

Gravina said at a press conference: “I’ve been working on this project and soon it will be submitted to all of the necessary bodies.

“If this were to happen, we would have an 18-team Serie A beginning in the 2023-2024 season. We wouldn’t be the first federation to do this, though, we would still be a part of the early adopters of this reform.

“I’m interested in reforming Italian football. The first talks to enact this change could take place as early as Friday.”

Meanwhile, internet giant Google will remove apps illegally showing live Serie A matches from its platform as part of a tie-up with the top Italian league to combat online piracy.  

The league has taken significant steps to curb piracy in recent years to protect the value of its broadcast rights.

Under a new partnership, Google has now “removed apps illegally reproducing contents owned by Serie A" from its Play Store content platform.

Serie A added that Google will use "innovative instruments" to detect any future copyright infringement.

Fabio Vaccarono, vice president of Google and managing director of Google in Italy, said: “The fight against piracy represents a constant commitment for Google, also through the development and continuous improvement of ad hoc technologies and dedicated programmes, available to content owners to protect their rights on our platforms. 

“The meeting and dialogue with the rights holders are essential for a quality result and the successful collaboration with Serie A is proof of this.”

Last week Italian authorities blocked 1.5 million users that were illegally streaming league content from providers including Italian broadcasters Sky Italia and Mediaset and streaming services DAZN and Netflix.

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