Serie A

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Serie A
Country  Italy
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1898 officially
1929 as round-robin tournament
Number of teams 20
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Serie B
Domestic cup(s) Coppa Italia
Supercoppa Italiana
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Juventus (31st title)
Most championships Juventus (31 titles)
TV partners SKY Italia
Mediaset Premium
2015–16 Serie A

Serie A (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛːrje ˈa]), also called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since the 1929–30 season. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new league, the Lega Serie A, was created for the 2010–11 season. Serie A is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world and it is often depicted as the most tactical national league.[1] Serie A is the world's second strongest national league according to IFFHS[2] and has produced the highest number of European Cup finalists: Italian clubs have reached the final of the competition on a record twenty-six different occasions, winning the title twelve times.[3] Serie A is ranked 4th among European leagues according to UEFA's league coefficient behind La Liga, Bundesliga and Premier League, which is based on the performance of Italian clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League during the last five years.[4] Serie A led the UEFA ranking from 1986 to 1988 and from 1990 to 1999.[5]

In its current format, the Italian Football Championship was revised from having regional and interregional rounds, to a single-tier league from the 1929–30 season onwards. The championship titles won prior to 1929 are officially recognised by FIGC with the same weighting as titles that were subsequently awarded. However, the 1945–46 season, when the league was played over two geographical groups due to the ravages of WWII, is not statistically considered, even if its title is fully official.[6] All the winning teams are recognised with the title of Campione d'Italia ("Champion of Italy"), which is ratified by the Lega Serie A before the start of the next edition of the championship.

The league hosts three of the world's most famous clubs as Juventus, Milan and Internazionale, all founding members of the G-14, a group which represented the largest and most prestigious European football clubs; Serie A was the only league to produce three founding members.[7] More players have won the coveted Ballon d'Or award while playing at a Serie A club than any other league in the world.[8] - ahead of Spain's La Liga, although the actual number of Ballon d'Or won by players in these two leagues is equal at 18 each if including the FIFA Ballon d'Or. Milan is the second club with the most official international titles in the world (18).[9] Juventus, Italy's most successful club of the 20th century[10] and the most successful Italian team,[11] is tied for fourth in Europe and eighth in the world in the same ranking.[12] The club is the only one in the world to have won all possible official continental competitions and the world title.[13][14][15] Internazionale, following their achievements in the 2009–10 season, became the first Italian team to have achieved a treble.[16] Juventus, Milan and Inter, along with Roma, Fiorentina, Lazio and Napoli are known as the Seven Sisters of Italian football.[17][18][19][20][21][note 1]


For most of Serie A's history there were 16 or 18 clubs competing at the top level; however, since 2004–05 there have been 20 clubs altogether. A season (1947–1948) was played with 21 teams for political reasons. Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history;

  • 18 clubs = 1929–1934
  • 16 clubs = 1934–1942
  • 18 clubs = 1942–1946
  • 20 clubs = 1946–1947
  • 21 clubs = 1947–1948
  • 20 clubs = 1948–1952
  • 18 clubs = 1952–1967
  • 16 clubs = 1967–1988
  • 18 clubs = 1988–2004
  • 20 clubs = 2004–present
Scudetto patch

During the league, from August to May, each club plays each of the other teams twice; once at home and once away, totaling 38 games for each team by the end of the season. Therefore, in Italian football a true round-robin format is used. In the first half of the season, called the andata, each team plays once against each league opponent, for a total of 19 games. In the second half of the season, called the ritorno, the teams play in exactly the same order that they did in the first half of the season, the only difference being that home and away situations are switched. Since the 1994-1995 season, teams were awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss.

Since Italy is currently rated as the fourth European countries in terms of club football ratings,[22] the top three teams in the Serie A qualified for the UEFA Champions League (from the 2012–13 season). The top two teams qualify directly to the group phase, while the third-placed team enters the competition at the playoff qualifying round and must win a two-legged knockout tie in order to enter the group phase. Teams finishing 4th and 5th qualify for the UEFA Europa League Tournament. A third UEFA Europa League spot is reserved for the winner of the Coppa Italia. If the Coppa Italia champion has already qualified for the major European tournament by placing in the top three of Serie A, the third UEFA Europa League spot goes to the losing finalist. If both Coppa Italia finalists finish among the top five teams in Serie A, the 6th classified team in Serie A is awarded the UEFA Europa League spot. The three lowest placed teams are relegated to Serie B.

Before the 2005–06 season, if two or more teams were tied in points for first place, for only one spot in a European tournament or in relegation zone, this teams would play tie-breaking games after the league's end, to determine which team would get the best place (useful to be champion, to be awarded a European tournament sport, or to be saved). From 2005–06 season, if two or more teams end the league with the same number of points, the deciding tie-breakers used are (in order):

  1. Head-to-head records;
  2. Goal difference of head-to-head records;
  3. Goal difference of league;
  4. Most goals for in league;
  5. Draw.


Serie A, as it is structured today, began in 1929. From 1898 to 1922 the competition was organised into regional groups. Because of ever growing teams attending regional championships, FIGC split the CCI (Italian Football Confederation) in 1921. When CCI teams rejoined the FIGC created two interregional divisions renaming Categories into Divisions and splitting FIGC sections into two North-South leagues. In 1926 due to internal crises FIGC changed internal settings adding southern teams to the national divisions which lead to 1929–30 final settlement. No title was awarded in 1927 after Torino were stripped of the championship by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Torino were declared champions in the 1948-49 season following a plane crash near the end of the season in which the entire team was killed.

The Serie A Championship title is often referred to as the scudetto (small shield) because since the 1924–25 season the winning team will bear a small coat of arms with the Italian tricolour on their strip in the following season. The most successful club is Juventus with 31 championships, followed by both Milan and Internazionale (18). From 2004–05 onwards an actual trophy was awarded to club on the pitch after the last turn of the championship. The trophy, called Coppa Campioni d'Italia, is official since the 1960–61 season, but between 1961 and 2004 it was consigned to the winning clubs at the head office of the Lega Nazionale Professionisti.

On 30 April 2009, Serie A announced a split from Serie B. Nineteen of the twenty clubs voted in favour of the move in an argument over television rights. Relegation-threatened Lecce voted against. Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy's employers' association, became president of the new league.[23][24][25][26]

Television rights

In the past individual clubs competing in the league had the rights to sell their broadcast rights to specific channels in Italy, unlike in most other European countries. Currently, the two broadcasters in Italy are the satellite broadcaster SKY Italia, along with terrestrial broadcaster Mediaset Premium for its own pay television networks; RAI is allowed to broadcast only highlights (in exclusive from 13:30 to 22:30 CET). This is a list of television rights in Italy (until 2009–2010):

For the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons, Serie A clubs negotiating club TV rights collectively rather than individually for the first time since 1998–99. The domestic rights for those two seasons were sold for €1.149bn to Sky Italia.[27]


Global rights for the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons were sold for €181.5 million to MP & Silva.[28]

In countries and territories outside of Italy, the league is broadcast on adventure time Raitalia (numerous countries in several continents), BT Sport (United Kingdom), Setanta Sports (Ireland), beIN Sports (Spain) (Spain), Benfica TV (Portugal), Teleclub (Switzerland), beIN Sports USA (United States as well as Canada while not having a broadcast channel), TV Esporte Interativo, Fox Sports (Brazil), ESPN Latin America (Latin America, Brazil and Caribbean), CCTV5 (China), KBS Sports (South Korea), beIN Sports (Middle East and North Africa), Astro SuperSport (Malaysia), Kompas TV (Indonesia), Neo Sports, TrueVisions (Thailand), mio TV (Singapore), Sony KIX (India), Fox Sports (Netherlands), OTE Sport (Greece), Canal+ Poland (Poland), NTV Turkey (Turkey), bTV Action and RING (Bulgaria), Arenasport (Croatia), Digi Sport (Romania), Arena Sport(Serbia), SuperSport (Albania), Kujtesa (Kosovo), Multichoice (South Africa), In televizija (Montenegro), Telelatino, Sport 5 (Israel), HiTV (Nigeria), Sport1 (Lithuania), Canal9 (Denmark and Norway) Sportbox (Mongolia), Stöð 2 Sport (Iceland) and beIN Sports (Australia) .

In the 1990s Serie A was at its most popular in the UK when it was shown on Channel 4, although it has actually appeared on more UK channels than any other league, rarely staying in one place for long since 2002. Serie A has appeared in the UK on BSB Sports Channel (1990–91), Sky Sports (1991–92), Channel 4 (1992–2002), Eurosport (2002–04), Setanta Sports and Bravo (2004–07), Channel 5 (2007–08), ESPN (2009–13) and BT Sport (since 2013). In Mexico, Televisa Deportes Network HD two games delay in the week.


Club Winners Runners-up Championship seasons
Juventus 31 21 1905, 1925–26, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1957–58, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1966–67, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1976-77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1994–95, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05 [nb 1], 2005–06[nb 1], 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15
Milan 18 17 1901, 1906, 1907, 1950–51, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1967–68, 1978–79, 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2010–11
Internazionale 18 15 1909–10, 1919–20, 1929–30, 1937–38, 1939–40, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1962–63, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1970–71, 1979–80, 1988–89, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
Genoa 9 4 1898, 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1914–15, 1922–23, 1923–24
Torino 7 6 1927–28, 1942–43, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1975–76
Bologna 7 4 1924–25, 1928–29, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1938–39, 1940–41, 1963–64
Pro Vercelli 7 1 1908, 1909, 1910–11, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1920–21, 1921–22 (C.C.I.)
Roma 3 13 1941–42, 1982–83, 2000–01
Lazio 2 7 1973–74, 1999–2000
Fiorentina 2 5 1955–56, 1968–69
Napoli 2 5 1986–87, 1989–90
Cagliari 1 1 1969–70
Casale 1 - 1913–14
Novese 1 - 1921–22 (F.I.G.C.)
Verona 1 - 1984–85
Sampdoria 1 - 1990–91

Bold indicates clubs currently playing in the top division.

  • The 2004–05 and 2005–06 titles were initially won by Juventus but were rescinded due to the Calciopoli scandal. The 2004–05 title remained unassigned while the 2005–06 scudetto was reassigned to Inter.
  • A decoration was awarded to Spezia in 2002 by FIGC for the 1944 wartime championship. However, the Federation has stated that it cannot be considered as a scudetto.
  • The 1926–27 title was initially won by Torino, but was rescinded due to the Allemandi match fixing scandal.

Serie A clubs

For more details see List of Italian Football Championship clubs

Prior to 1929, many clubs competed in the top level of Italian football as the earlier rounds were competed up to 1922 on a regional basis then interregional up to 1929. Below is a list of Serie A clubs who have competed in the competition when it has been a league format (63 in total).

Seasons in Serie A

There are 65 teams have taken part in 84 Serie A championships in a single round that was played from the 1929–30 season until the 2015–16 season season. The teams in bold compete in Serie A currently. Inter is the only team that has played Serie A football in every season.

Serie A Members for 2015–16

The following twenty clubs will complete in Serie A during the 2015–16 season.

Finishing position
in 2014–15
First season in Serie A First season of current spell in Serie A
Atalanta 17th 1937–38 2011–12
Bologna Serie B, 4th1 1929–30 2015–16
Carpi Serie B Champions 2015–16 2015–16
Chievo 14th 2001–02 2008–09
Empoli 15th 1986–87 2014–15
Fiorentina 4th 1931–32 2004–05
Frosinone Serie B Runner-Up 2015–16 2015–16
Genoa 6th 1929–30 2007–08
Internazionale 8th 1929–30 1929–30
Juventus Champions 1929–30 2007–08
Lazio 3rd 1929–30 1988–89
Milan 10th 1929–30 1983–84
Napoli 5th 1929–30 2007–08
Palermo 11th 1932–33 2014–15
Roma 2nd 1929–30 1952–53
Sampdoria 7th 1946–47 2012–13
Sassuolo 12th 2013–14 2013–14
Torino 9th 1929–30 2012–13
Udinese 16th 1950–51 1995–96
Verona 13th 1957–58 2013–14

1 Promoted as playoff winner.


Paolo Maldini has made the most appearances in Serie A (647)
Top 10 Players With Most Appearances[29]
Last updated as of 20 September 2015
Player Period Club(s) Games
1 Italy Paolo Maldini 1985–2009 Milan 647
2 Argentina Javier Zanetti 1995–2014 Internazionale 615
3 Italy Francesco Totti 1992– Roma 592
4 Italy Gianluca Pagliuca 1987–2007 Sampdoria, Internazionale, Bologna, Ascoli 592
5 Italy Dino Zoff 1961–1983 Udinese, Mantova, Napoli, Juventus 570
6 Italy Gianluigi Buffon 1995– Parma, Juventus 569
7 Italy Pietro Vierchowod 1980–2000 Como, Fiorentina, Roma, Sampdoria, Juventus, Milan, Piacenza 562
8 Italy Roberto Mancini 1981–2001 Bologna, Sampdoria, Lazio 541
9 Italy Silvio Piola 1929–1954 Pro Vercelli, Lazio, Juventus, Novara 537
10 Italy Enrico Albertosi 1958–1980 Fiorentina, Cagliari, Milan 532
File:Silvio Piola.jpg
Silvio Piola is the highest goalscorer in Serie A with 274 goals
Top 10 Goalscorers[30]
Last updated as of 20 September 2015
Player Period Club(s) Goals
1 Italy Silvio Piola 1929–1954 Pro Vercelli, Lazio, Juventus, Novara 274
2 Italy Francesco Totti 1992– Roma 244
3 Sweden Gunnar Nordahl 1948–1958 Milan, Roma 225
4 Brazil Italy José Altafini 1958–1976 Milan, Napoli, Juventus 216
5 Italy Giuseppe Meazza 1929–1947 Internazionale, Milan, Juventus 216
6 Italy Antonio Di Natale 2002– Empoli, Udinese 208
7 Italy Roberto Baggio 1986–2004 Fiorentina, Juventus, Milan, Bologna, Internazionale, Brescia 205
8 Sweden Kurt Hamrin 1956–1971 Juventus, Padova, Fiorentina, Milan, Napoli 190
9 Italy Giuseppe Signori 1991–2004 Foggia, Lazio, Sampdoria, Bologna 188
10 Italy Alessandro Del Piero 1993–2012 Juventus 188


Non-EU players

Unlike La Liga, which imposed a quota on the number of non-EU players on each club, Serie A clubs could sign as many non-EU players as available on domestic transfer. But since the 2003–04 season a quota has been imposed on each of the clubs limiting the number of non-EU, non-EFTA and non-Swiss players who may be signed from abroad each season,[31] following provisional measures[32] introduced in the 2002–03 season, which allowed Serie A & B clubs to sign only one non-EU player in the 2002 summer transfer window.

In the middle of the 2000–01 season, the old quota system was abolished, which no longer limited each team to having more than 5 non-EU players and using no more than 3 in each match.[32][33] Concurrent with the abolishment of the quota, FIGC had investigated footballers that used fake passports. Alberto and Warley, Alejandro Da Silva and Jorginho Paulista of Udinese,[34] Fábio Júnior and Gustavo Bartelt of Roma,[35] Dida of Milan, Álvaro Recoba of Inter, Thomas Job, Francis Zé, Jean Ondoa of Sampdoria, Jeda and Dede of Vicenza were banned in July 2001, for 6 months to 1 year.[36] However, most of the bans were subsequently reduced.

The number of non-EU players was reduced from 265 in 2002–03 season to 166 in 2006–07 season.[37] It also included players got EU status after their countries joined the EU (see 2004 and 2007 enlargement), which made players such as Adrian Mutu, Valeri Bojinov, Marek Jankulovski and Marius Stankevičius no longer non-EU players.

The rule underwent minor changes in August 2004,[38] June 2005,[39] June 2006.[40][41] and June 2007.[42]

Since the 2008–09 season, 3 quotas have been awarded to clubs that do not have non-EU players in their squad (previously only newly promoted clubs could have 3 quotas); clubs that have one non-EU player have 2 quotas. Those clubs that have 2 non-EU players, are awarded 1 quota and 1 conditional quota, which is awarded after: 1) Transferred 1 non-EU player abroad, or 2) Release 1 non-EU player as free agent, or 3) A non-EU player received EU nationality. Clubs with 3 or more non-EU players, have 2 conditional quotas, but releasing two non-EU players as free agent, will only have 1 quota instead of 2.[43] Serie B and Lega Pro clubs cannot sign non-EU player from abroad, except those followed the club promoted from Serie D.

Big clubs with many foreigners, usually borrow quotas from other clubs that have few foreigners or no foreigners, in order to sign more non-EU players. Adrian Mutu joined Juventus via Livorno in 2005, at that time Romania was not a member of the EU. Other cases include Júlio César, Victor Obinna and Maxwell who joined Internazionale from Chievo (first two) and Empoli respectively.

On 2 July 2010, the above conditional quota reduced back to 1, however if a team did not have any non-EU players, that team could still sign up to 3 non-EU players.[44][45][46]

FIFA World Players of the Year

1Player was a member of the club for the first half of the calendar year (The second part of a finished season - January to May)
2Player was a member of the club for the second half of the calendar year (The first part of a new season - August to December)

Official match ball

  • 2007–2008: Nike T90 Aerow II
  • 2008–2009: Nike T90 Omni
  • 2009–2010: Nike T90 Ascente
  • 2010–2011: Nike T90 Tracer
  • 2011–2012: Nike Seitiro
  • 2012–2013: Nike Maxim
  • 2013–2014: Nike Incyte
  • 2014–2015: Nike Ordem

UEFA Country Ranking As of 10 December 2015 the coefficients are as follows:: Last updated 21 December 2015


Until 1993, Serie A matches were played at same hour: on Sunday afternoon, at 2:30 or 4:30 (according to sunlight). In 1993–94 season, Lega Calcio made a notable edit: a deferred match, scheduled for Sunday evening at 8:30 (8:45 from 2009–10). This format was changed again in 1999–2000, due to emergence of pay television in Italian football:

  • Saturday: two matches, the first at 6 p.m and the second at 8:45;
  • Sunday: the most part of a matchday takes part at 3 p.m, while a deferred match is still present.

In 2004, due to presence of 20 teams, is also possible to play in midweek: on Wednesday evening, with some matches on Tuesday and others on Thursday (at 8:45). In 2010, "lunch match" was introduced: a match played on Sunday at 12:30. Finally, in few weeks, matches can be played on Friday or on Monday (in evening hourly).[47]

List of Lega Serie A presidents

See also


  1. The Big Five Leagues
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  7. "G-14's members". Retrieved 12 September 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "European Footballer of the Year ("Ballon d'Or")". Retrieved 17 December 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  12. Fourth most successful European club for confederation and FIFA competitions won with 11 titles. Fourth most successful club in Europe for confederation club competition titles won (11), cf. "Confermato: I più titolati al mondo!" (in Italian). A.C. Milan S.p.A official website. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. In addition, Juventus F.C. were the first club in association football history to have won all possible confederation competitions (e.g. the international tournaments organised by UEFA) and remain the only in the world to achieve this, cf. "Legend: UEFA club competitions". Union des Associations Européennes de Football. 21 August 2006. Archived from the original on 2010-01-31. Retrieved 26 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    "1985: Juventus end European drought". Union des Associations Européennes de Football. 8 December 1985. Retrieved 26 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  17. Le sette sorelle dell'Italcalcio
  18. Uno scudetto per Sette sorelle
  19. Serie A al via: le sette sorelle sono tornate
  20. Dalla paziente Juventus al Napoli esaurito
  21. Calciomercato serie A le nuove probabili formazioni delle sette sorelle
  22. [1], [2]
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  45. "Su extracomunitari, vivai, Club Italia e Settori le prime misure della FIGC". FIGC (in Italian). 2 July 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  47. In 2003, UEFA allowed his federations to change the hourly of matches according to weather: for example in August, matches can be postponed at 6 or 7 p.m (instead at 3) due to warm. In winter, matches can be at 5 or 6 (than 8:45) due to cold.
  48. "Lega di A: gli organi dirigenti". FC Internazionale Milano (in Italian). 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010. External link in |publisher= (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. "Comunicato Ufficiale n° 1". Comunicati Segreteria - Lega Serie A (in Italian). 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  1. In the 1990s, when the term originated, A.C. Parma was seen as one the Seven Sisters and Napoli was not included
  1. 1.0 1.1 These titles were revoked through the courts following the Calciopoli Scandal.

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