Pitchside

Italian crowds fall by over six per cent in a year

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The number of people going to watch football in Italian stadiums has dropped by over 800,000 or six percent in the space of a year, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said on Monday.

With the game in Italy losing ground on the pitch to European counterparts, FIGC's annual report has highlighted its off-field woes.

ReportCalcio 2014 states that the 13,164,671 people who went to see Serie A, Serie B and the third and fourth tier Lega Pro divisions in the 2011-12 season fell to 12,328,100 the following campaign.

That represents a drop of 836,571 fans going through the turnstiles, or a 6.4 percent reduction.

Ageing infrastructure and repressive ticketing measures, aimed at curbing the violence that has plagued many matches, have been blamed for a drop in gate receipts.

Unlike in countries like England, fans of top Italian clubs can also watch all of their team's games on television.

"There is no doubt that the condition of our stadiums is one of the factors that has led to a decline in attendance, but we should not forget that we remain number five in the world for the number of average spectators," said FIGC president Giancarlo Abete.

The 8,584,596 fans going to watch Serie A last season was an increase of 2.7 percent and the first rise in five years, but could be partly credited to well-supported teams Torino, Pescara and Sampdoria being promoted from Serie B, which saw a 22.8 percent drop in matchday attendances last term.

Attendances in the third tier Prima Divisione dropped by just over a fifth, while the fourth level Seconda Divisione experienced a drastic 22.3 percent fall in the number of fans going to watch their teams.

REUTERS

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