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 By Ben Gladwell

Berlusconi wants radical Italian reform

Barbara Berlusconi (right) wants some fresh, young faces taking charge of Italian football.

AC Milan vice-president Barbara Berlusconi says the time has come for radical changes in Italian football and has called for some new faces to occupy its most important roles.

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Berlusconi, 29, believes somebody in the prime of their career and not one approaching retirement should be considered to replace Italian Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete, who resigned from his position following Italy's early exit at the World Cup.

Berlusconi would fit the bill herself, although she insists that is not the motivation behind her suggestion.

"After two World Cups in which we [Italy] haven't even got past the group stage, and after even being overtaken [in UEFA's five-year rankings] by a league which is not necessarily rich like Portugal, the time has come to change," Berlusconi is quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We have a governing body who spend most of their time bickering and arguing with each other while other countries are gaining, thanks to their leagues, even greater slices of the market in Asia and the Middle East.

"I would like to make it clear immediately that I am not seeking a position for myself. I am young and I am still learning. But I have been fortunate in these years to get to know a generation of people in their 40s who are all very well-prepared, competent and would be able to reform football with their innovative, managerial spirit.

"Unfortunately this elite, who are not that well known, are not able to find any room because the will to change things is not there."

Berlusconi's words appear to be an endorsement of Demetrio Albertini, 43, or Paolo Maldini, 46 -- two former AC Milan legends, who are reportedly in the running to replace Abete.

However, the primary candidate remains the current president of the Italian Amateur Football Association, Carlo Tavecchio, 71, who has told Berlusconi to mind her own business.

"The kind lady will have no say on who is named the new president," he is quoted as saying by Giornalettismo. "In our case, it comes down to the support you have from over a million-and-a-half members who form part of our movement."


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