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Expanded four-team Italian Supercoppa ‘under consideration’

The Supercoppa Italiana trophy (by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Lega Serie A, the body that oversees Italian football’s top-tier Serie A, is contemplating the expansion of its Supercoppa tournament to a four-team ‘Final Four’ competition, it is claimed.

Ahead of this year’s match in Riyadh, league executives have held talks with Saudi Arabian authorities about the possibility of extending the tournament in the future, according to Italy’s Corriere dello Sport.

Any future expansion to a four-team event would mirror the move made by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), which has expanded its Supercopa, which also take places in Saudi Arabia this season.

Lega Serie A’s hosting agreement with the Saudi authorities runs up until the 2020 tournament and discussion over format changes in any future agreement are reported to have taken place.

The Italian Supercoppa has traditionally pitted the winners of Serie A against the Coppa Italia victors. The Spanish equivalent also featured the domestic league and cup winners but now also includes the league and cup runners-up.

Juventus and Lazio will face off on Sunday in the latest iteration of the Supercoppa. A title sponsor for the tournament was announced this week as soft drinks giant Coca-Cola came on board.

The staging of the match in Saudi Arabia has proved to be a hotly-disputed one.

In September 2019, UsigRai, the journalists’ union of public-service broadcaster Rai, and the Italian division of Amnesty International called on Juventus and Lazio to boycott the match.

There is also discontent about the presence of Saudi Arabian pirate channel beoutQ, which has been transmitting sporting events illegally, including the Serie A across the Middle East and North Africa region. The Saudi Arabian government has denied allegations it is involved in the operation.

Qatari-based broadcaster beIN has stated it is reviewing its commercial relationship with the league because of the influence of beoutQ.

It is one of the Serie A’s biggest media rights-holders paying $170m (€153m) per season for the exclusive rights to broadcast the competition between the 2018-19 and 2020-21 across 36 territories.