There was no structured league (like Serie A) in Italy at the end of the XIX century, but a few only regional tournaments. It was decided to create a unified league due to the constantly growing number of teams. Serie A dates back to 1889, although the format was finally set only in 1929. 18 teams took part in the championship during the first five years. The number was constantly changing later from bigger to smaller or vice versa.
The strongest clubs withdrew from the Italian Football Federation. They created the Italian Football Confederation and held their own championship, where the club Pro Vercelli became the winner. The previous championship winner was Novese club. The clubs’ number in the top championship grew in the 40s. Mussolini, who really liked football, called for the sport’s popularization in all over the Italy. The number of clubs increased again after the regime’s change.
The Italian football championship was interrupted twice: due to the First World War in 1916-1919, and due to the Second World War in 1944 – 1945. Although the championship was still held (in a short form) in the season of 1943 – 1944. And even the champion (Spezia) was determined, but the tournament was considered unofficial. So it was not taken into account in most reference books.
A lot of people call the champions title of Serie A as Scudetto. The team-champion of the national championship places the emblem of Italy’s tricolor next to club’s emblem on their jerseys. The Turinese Juventus won scudetto more than any other club – 29 times. Moreover, the club from Turin was disentitled twice. It happened in the seasons of 2004 – 2005 and 2005 – 2006 in connection with the scandal over the contractual matches. Juventus was not only taken away all points. The club was suspended and relegated to the Serie B. Internazionale and Milan (both clubs are from Milan) are the closest pursuers of the Italian most titled team.
Each of them has 18 golden medals of the Italian football championship. Any team has the right to wear a Golden Star over the club’s emblem on their jerseys for every ten won championship titles in the Italian championship. Thus, Nerazzurri (black and blue), one of Internazionale nicknames, and Rossoneri (red and black), one of Milan nicknames, have one Golden Star. La Vecchia Signora, one of Juventus nicknames, have two Golden Stars on their jerseys. It should also be noted that the only team that did not leave the Serie A is Milanese Inter, a simplified name for Internazionale. Although they took the last place in group B in the season of 1922.
Serie A has got 20 participants in the current format since 2004. However, some calls have been made lately to reduce this number to 18. For example, the Italian Football Federation current head, Carlo Tavecchio, promoted this idea actively in his election campaign in 2015. He was sure it would increase the Serie A competitiveness. Tavecchio won the election, but did not have it his own way. At least two-thirds of votes of clubs’ representatives were required for the decision to reduce. Decrease in the matches’ number is a loss for both clubs and TV men. Therefore, all discussions remained only at the level of rumors.
If we talk about football in Italy as a whole, then we can note some decay not only in the clubs’ game, but in the national team as well. Still the fourth place in the UEFA rating leaves hope to improve the situation. But the 12th place in the FIFA rating, being four-time world champion, is quite shamefully, to put it mildly. The reason is seen on the surface: Italy’s football, like no other world’s leading football country, is corrupted to the core. Disorders in the stands reduce the attendance of stadiums, and, accordingly, the clubs’ incomes. All these factors act as a brake for the youth football development in the country.