Acclaimed by many as an opportunity to grow Italian talent, B-Teams have been all the rage among Italian football reformists. Now that B-Teams have achieved political backing, how will Serie A’s B-Teams be introduced?
Relying on a second team (or B-team) that plays in a lower tier has proven to be a successful formula to reap young talent for some of the better footballing nations in Europe, among which Germany and Spain.
The introduction of B-Teams in the Italian football system was acclaimed by all candidates to the presidency of the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, the Italian football association, in the wake of Italy’s unceremonious ousting from the 2018 World Cup. With the federation now commissioned (due to failed presidential elections) and oversought by the former Olympic committee president Giovanni Malagò, B-teams remain le plat du jour.
The devil, as always is in the details. After overcoming Serie B’s protests at the decision, observers of Italian football breathed a collective sigh as B-Teams were on the front wagon of Malagò’s unstoppable reform freight train. Or is it “reform bull in a China shop”?
Who gets a B-Team first?
Last week, the coefficient that will be used to rank clubs allowed to register a B-Team in 2018/19’s Serie C was determined to be as follows:
- 40% based on Italian national team caps of their players (from U15 to U21) since 2015/16;
- 30% based on 2017/18 standings; and
- 30% based on average attendance from 2012 to 2017.
Registration of a B-team is set at €1.2M. Even though Juventus, Fiorentina, Inter, Milan and Atalanta have stated that they are ready to register a team, Juventus is the only one so far that fulfills all the criteria and is ready.
Under what scenario would a B-Team slot open in Serie C?
Serie A clubs will be allowed to register if there aren’t enough Serie C teams to play the three “gironi”/tiers (there are 60 spots in total to fill). As soon as a club that has earned the right to play in Serie C doesn’t meet the requirements to do so, the choice goes to the highest ranked Serie A team to register their respective B-Team. Once B-Team candidates from Serie A are exhausted, they’ll have a repechage for teams who had been relegated from Serie C into the lower tier (i.e., Interregionale).
How will B-Team rosters be composed?
B-Teams will comprise a roster of 23, of which 19 must be under 21 years of age, 16 of which must have been registered in a FIGC-affiliated club for the previous 7 seasons. Players will be allowed to be moved between their senior team and the B-Team at will, however, if any of those reaches 5 or more appearances in the same season they will no longer be allowed to play for that club’s B-Team, regardless of his age or other reasons.
Can B-Teams be promoted?
A B-Team cannot play in the same league as its senior equivalent. All B-teams will be entered into the Serie C equivalent of the Coppa Italia, not the senior edition. In case of relegation of a senior side into the lower division where its respective B-Team plays, the latter would be relegated automatically irrespective of sporting result. A B-Team cannot participate in Serie A.