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FIGC presidential candidate calls for 18-team Serie A

Former Italy international Demetrio Albertini has said he will seek to cut Serie A to 18 teams and introduce a quota for homegrown players if he is elected as the new president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

The FIGC is seeking a new leader after Giancarlo Abete announced his resignation in the wake of Italy’s elimination from the 2014 Fifa World Cup last month, the national team’s second successive exit at the group stage.

The 42-year-old Albertini, who starred for AC Milan in his playing days, is running against 71-year-old Carlo Tavecchio in next month’s election. Tavecchio is president of the National Amateur Football Association (LND) and is said to be the favourite for the post.

Serie A has operated under a 20-club system since 2004-05, but Albertini is keen to reduce this by two teams and also introduce a minimum quota of homegrown players in a bid to enhance the top division’s standing amongst its fellow European leagues while boosting the performance of the national team.

“My ideas for change are based on putting everything in its rightful place,”Albertini told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. “Otherwise, there is no point in changing anything. This is the only way our top division can return to being competitive again in Europe while the lower leagues can dedicate themselves to nurturing players.

“(This would mean) an 18-team Serie A and Serie B with 20 clubs. The Lega Pro has just been reduced to 60 after many years so I don't think it necessarily needs to be reduced further. What I am interested in is financial sustainability. We've lost too many clubs in recent years – Padova and Siena being the latest.

“Reducing the numbers in the leagues would be just the first step. Every club in Serie A would need to have a squad of no more than 25 players. A minimum of 10 would have to be homegrown, which means they have come through the club's youth system, regardless of their nationality.”