Messina and Torino have been expelled from Serie A because of the poor state of their finances, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) decided on Friday.
Both clubs have already indicated they will appeal against any ban in the courts, raising the possibility that the start of the new season, set for August 28, could be disprupted.
“I’m not optimistic but I’m realistic and I think that we have all of the tools in hand and all of the prerequisites to remain in Serie A,” Torino chairman Tilli Romero said.
A number of other clubs from Italy’s lower divisions will also be barred from starting the season because of financial problems. They Perugia and Salernitana from Serie B.
If Messina lose their appeal, Bologna, who were relegated from Serie A after losing a play-off against Parma, could take their place.
“We will fight our case,” said Bologna’s president Giuseppe Gazzoni.
Treviso, who finished fifth in Serie B last season, could take the place of Torino if their appeal fails.