Italian football league system: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Italian football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for football clubs in Italy.



At the top is the Lega Nazionale Professionisti ('Professionals National League', often referred to as 'Lega Calcio'), which has two divisions (Serie A and Serie B).

Below that is the Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico ('Italian League Professional Football', often referred to as 'Lega Pro'), which rules First Division (with two parallel divisions) and Second Division (with three parallel divisions).

Then there is the simply named Serie D, a league of nine parallel divisions (in which the clubs are divided by geographical location) that is organised by the Comitato Interregionale ('Interregional Committee') of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti ('National Amateur League'). Under them there are five more levels: four of them, Eccellenza, Promozione, Prima Categoria and Seconda Categoria, are organized by regional committees of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti, the last one, Terza Categoria, by provincial committees.

Current System

Level League/Division(s)
1 Lega Calcio
Serie A TIM

20 clubs
2 Lega Calcio
Serie B TIM

22 clubs
3 Lega Pro
Prima Divisione Girone A

18 clubs
Lega Pro
Prima Divisione Girone B

18 clubs
4 Lega Pro
Seconda Divisione Girone A

18 clubs
Lega Pro
Seconda Divisione Girone B

18 clubs
Lega Pro
Seconda Divisione Girone C

18 clubs
Serie D Girone A

18 clubs
Serie D Girone B

18 clubs
Serie D Girone C

20 clubs
Serie D Girone D

20 clubs
Serie D Girone E

18 clubs
Serie D Girone F

18 clubs
Serie D Girone G

18 clubs
Serie D Girone H

19 clubs
Serie D Girone I

18 clubs
6 Eccellenza
(28 regional rounds, 16 or 18 clubs each)
7 Promozione
(54 regional rounds, 16, 17 or 18 clubs each)
8 Prima Categoria
(103 regional rounds)
9 Seconda Categoria
(178 regional rounds)
10 Terza Categoria
(many provincial rounds)


The first leagues were started by English emigrants in the 1891s in Italy. The first club was Genoa Cricket and Athletic Club (now Genoa Cricket & Football Club). Initially there were separate leagues for Italians and foreigners, they merged around 1897. In March 1898, the Italian Football Federation (Federazione Italiana del Football, later re-called Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, FIGC) was set up in Turin. With four clubs joining - Genoa, FC Torinese, Internazionale di Torino and the Società Ginnastica di Torino (Gymnastic Society of Torino). Other clubs existed but decided not to join. The first league took place on a single day, May 8, 1898 in Torino. The title was won by Genoa.

Genoa were the initial force in Italian football. They won the championship in 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, and 1904. Milan CFBC and Juventus FBC joined the league during 1899-1900 season.

FIGC joined FIFA in 1905 and the championship moved to a league structure, based on regions, in the same year.

After the interruption of World War I, football popularity grew and more and smaller clubs joined. In the summer of 1921, a second association was briefly created in competition with the FIGC: the Confederazione Calcistica Italiana (CCI), emerged from an argument between major and minor clubs over the structure of the national leagues. Hence in 1922 Italy had two champions US Pro Vercelli and US Novese. The two groups eventually re-merged at the end of the season.

The move to a single national league structure occurred in 1929 with initially eighteen teams in the top league. The first winners in 1930 were Internazionale. The national team also won the World Cup in 1934 and 1938.

After World War II the league returned to a regional structure with a north-south divide and a play-off for a single year before returning to a national league. Torino were the first post-war league champions and went on to win four in a row.

However it is Juventus, A.C. Milan and Internazionale that have dominated the league since World War II, winning 47 titles on 64 seasons.

The actual league system dates back to 1978, when semi-professional sector was disbanded. In that year, the actual Lega Pro (at that age known as National Semiprofessional League) which ruled Serie C and Serie D, turned in a fully professional league organizing new Serie C1 and Serie C2. Italy so became the only country having two distinct professional football leagues, 14 years before England.

See also

External links

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