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Italian clubs angry over restriction

The Italian football federation (FIGC) has limited the number of non-EU players Italian clubs can sign to one per season.

The move, which comes in the wake of the Italian national team's disappointing World Cup, has been met with widespread disapproval among clubs.

"The reduction was approved by the federation board with Serie A voting against," Serie A president Maurizio Beretta told the new Serie A website. "The decision leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and does not resolve Italian soccer's problems."

The Lega Calcio, which protects the interest of Serie A clubs, is also against the change. "The Lega doesn't want to reduce the number from two to one," Sergio Campana, the President of the Italian Footballers' Association, said. "We need to start a policy that limits the foreigners and values the academies. The reduction from two to one has been passed by the Federal Counsel even though the Lega wasn't agreed."

Lazio president Claudio Lotito believes it is unfair to bring in the rule for next season as it jeopardises pre-existing transfer plans.

"This decision penalises some Serie A clubs who had table bids that now cannot be concluded," Lotito said. "Perhaps it was better to postpone the decision until the next transfer window. This solution will not resolve all of Italian football's problems, but now is not the moment to make trials."

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini said: "This was the dumbest thing they could've done. Those who imposed the rules are incompetent and should be sent packing.

"When you change the regulations halfway through, it shows that you are incompetent. Instead of sorting things out, we just make things worse.

"It's not as if we lost at the World Cup because club sides had two non-EU players instead of one. Whoever thought this up should be ashamed of themselves."

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