Serie A clubs voted to keep the number of clubs in Italy's top division at 20, the league said Monday after its shareholders meeting in Milan.
Only four clubs voted in favor of a reduction to 18 clubs in Serie A (Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan and AS Roma) and the number of clubs will remain at 20, as it has been since the 2004-05 season.
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Top clubs had pushed for the reduction in an effort to reduce the number of matches played and increase the quality of football on offer, but needed a majority of 14 votes to approve the reform.
The attempt by Juve, Milan, Inter and Roma to reduce the size of the league was criticized by officials of other teams.
“I think the attitude of [the clubs in question] I was wrong,” Urbino Cairo, Torino's president, told reporters after the meeting. “I would say what they wanted to do looked like a super league.”
Milan president Paolo Scaroni advocated reducing the number of teams to journalists before the meeting and vote.
“In reality, clubs like us, which play international competitions and have many players called up by national teams, complain about too many matches,” Scaroni said.
“The players play continental tournaments, their national team matches, the Italian Cup and the league. All this leads to a load of matches that becomes unbearable and is the cause of many injuries.
“We've had 18 teams in the league before. In fact, I remember it when I was 16 too.”
A proposal for reforms was also approved and will be presented at the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in March.
The Italian league is pushing for greater autonomy from the FIGC, similar to the Premier League in England.
“Currently, the system does not give Serie A the autonomy and decision-making weight that it should have with respect to economic weight,” Serie A president Lorenzo Casini said after a meeting of Serie A clubs. last week.
Milan's Scaroni joined the league president's message on Monday.
“We in Serie A, who finance all Italian football, have 12% of the power within the Federation, which creates an endless cycle of frustration,” he said.