Serie A slams watchdog’s call to overhaul rights model

Lega Serie A, the top division of football in Italy, has criticised a recommendation by the country’s competition watchdog to overhaul the redistribution of media-rights income among clubs.

The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato called on the government to amend the law so that less money should be allocated according the size of club’s supporter base and its historic performances, and more on recent sporting results.

However, the league said that the authority had simply echoed suggestions that had already been dismissed prior to the introduction of the 2008 Melandri law, which underpins the current model, and added that the watchdog’s suggestion that an independent third party should be responsible for controlling income redistribution was unrealistic.

“In no other country in the world would the criteria for the allocation of revenues derived from private television corporations, some of which are even listed on the stock exchange, be left to outsiders of the league,” the league said.

Serie A said that the majority of top-flight clubs support the current model and added that the process to implement the current income redistribution structure had followed the correct administrative procedures.

Enzo Morelli, who was legal adviser to then-Italian sports minister Giovanna Melandri during the establishment of the current law, added: “The law has always been respected by the league. It is not clear what the third party would be.”

Under the current structure, 40 per cent of media-rights income is divided equally between clubs, 30 per cent is distributed according to clubs’ supporter bases and 30 per cent is distributed on the basis of sporting results, both recent and historic.