Serie A will start, after all, at the weekend after the big clubs put their hands in their pockets to buy off their smaller cousins’ protest.

Eight Serie A clubs had threatened to boycott the weekend’s already-delayed start to the league campaign because they had yet to agree live television deals.

It took a three-hour meeting with government mediation from Sports Minister Giuliani Urbani to persuade Atalanta, Brescia, Chievo, Como, Empoli, Modena, Perugia and Piacenza to come out and play.

Pay-TV channels Telepiu and Stream have raised their offer to the consortium to a total of œ52million but that has also been rejected.

Adriano Galliani, president of the Italian league who is also chief executive of Milan, said:

“We have agreed that the richer clubs such as Milan, Juventus, Inter, Roma, Lazio and Parma will make a financial contribition to the other 12 clubs. It was important to restore normal service to the country.”

Como president Enrico Preziosi said: “We are taking a big drop in our financial expectations but it was even more important that the championship should start this coming weekend.”
By Keir Radnedge