Italian national team coach Cesare Prandelli has suggested this week that his nations Under-21 side should play in Serie B, the second tier of Italian football. Prandelli's idea comes on out of lack of young players coming through the Italian football system which is harming the senior national team.
Former international and Milan star Demetrio Albertini, now Italian football federation vice-president, told Italian news agency ANSA, "Now we'll take the project to the relevant bodies, for instance the federal council."
One thing is clear, Italian football will have to change and evolve for the national team to be successful again. The Azzuri's failure at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the Serie A clubs continued failure in European competitions has forced the federation to become pro-active and think about new ideas.
But numerous questions surrounding such a project remain unanswered. Can the team be promoted or relegated, would the IFF ensure funding for the side and in which city would the Under-21 side be based to make it its home.
Surely an interesting proposition and something which is already happening in India. If a four time World Cup winning nation is thinking about doing something like this then the idea developed to allow our Under-20 team to play in the I-League as originally the AIFF XI and now renamed as Indian Arrows is a chance to allow young players to develop in tough league competition. And this process hopefully would help the national team in the mid- and long-term.