Italy’s top flight Serie A clubs confirmed they will split from the second division Serie B sides in an attempt to make up ground on England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
The move is based on the English clubs’ 1992 breakaway which transformed the sport and made the Premier League the richest in the world.
The leagues will split from the start of the 2010-11 season, meaning the Serie A clubs will no longer have to pay any money to their Serie B counterparts.
There is also the possibility that the clubs, as with England, will negotiate a collective television rights deal. Currently they negotiate individually, resulting in the larger clubs, such as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, taking the bulk of the money and leaving little for the rest.
The split was approved in July but was ratified on Tuesday after a meeting of club presidents. Maurizio Beretta was elected president for the two divisions, but they will operate as separate entities.
Cagliari president Massimo Cellino stated: “The day has arrived. The league is 20 years behind and we cannot lose any more time. Serie A is separating from B.” League president Antonio Matarrese made it clear that the move was aimed at solving the continued arguments between Italy’s top two divisions by claiming: “Behind this there are projects grander than us, like a Super League and the changing of the rules for TV.”