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Crisis-hit Italian football set for reforms in 2016

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Crisis-hit Italian football set for reforms in 2016
National team coach Antonio Conte complained the archetypal Italian player who could once strike fear into opponents is now "dying out". Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP
08:59 CET+01:00
Serie A chiefs have welcomed a new package of reforms by the Italian football federation (FIGC) that will see squads limited to 25 players in a move designed to boost the flagging Italian game.

The crisis-hit Italian top flight has become a target for top players, coaches and critics in recent months, while Italy suffered their second consecutive first-round exit from a World Cup in Brazil last summer.

Earlier this week national team coach Antonio Conte complained the archetypal Italian player who could once strike fear into opponents is now "dying out".

At a FIGC meeting on Thursday new laws were voted that will see squads limited to 25 players. Four of those players must have been born in Italy while another four must come through the club's own youth system.

The reforms are set to be introduced in 2016 and have been welcomed by Serie A president Maurizio Beretta, who said: "These reforms are very important because they will enhance Italian football, our youth players and our grass roots system.

"They have been in the air for many years. But we need time to put them in place and make them work. You can't expect results from one day to the next."

Last month former Juventus striker Fabio Quagliarella complained Serie A had too many "useless" foreign players that were taking the place of Italian second and third division players who were just as good.

The FIGC reforms, which formed part of Carlo Tavecchio's platform during his successful campaign for the body's presidency last summer, will also see new limits on the number of non-EU players in Serie A.

Although no sweeping changes will be made, new limits have been set. 

Upon a first registration with a professional club, a young player must already be a resident in Italy, to have come to the country with his parents for non-sporting reasons and completed four years of schooling.

A limit on the number of non-EU players allowed in each squad already exists but from 2016 a new non-EU player can only be brought in to replace another if he has already held a professional contract for at least three years.

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