Serie A, as it is structured today, began during the 1929–30 season. From 1898 to 1922, the competition was organised into regional groups. Because of ever growing teams attending regional championships, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) split the CCI (Italian Football Confederation) in 1921, which founded in Milan the Lega Nord (Northern Football League), ancestor of present-day Lega Serie A. When CCI teams rejoined the FIGC created two interregional divisions renaming Categories into Divisions and splitting FIGC sections into two north–south leagues. In 1926, due to internal crises and fascist pressures, the FIGC changed internal settings, adding southern teams to the national division, ultimately leading to the 1929–30 final settlement. Torino were declared champions in the 1948–49 season following a plane crash near the end of the season in which the entire team was killed.
In the middle of the 2000–01 season, the old quota system was abolished, which no longer limited each team to having more than five non-EU players and using no more than three in each match. Concurrent with the abolishment of the quota, the FIGC had investigated footballers that used fake passports. Alberto and Warley, Alejandro Da Silva and Jorginho Paulista of Udinese; Fábio Júnior and Gustavo Bartelt of Roma; Dida of Milan; Álvaro Recoba of Inter; Thomas Job, Francis Zé, Jean Ondoa of Sampdoria; and Jeda and Dede of Vicenza were all banned in July 2001 for lengths ranging from six months to one year. However, most of the bans were subsequently reduced.
The number of non-EU players was reduced from 265 in 2002–03 season to 166 in 2006–07 season. It also included players who received EU status after their respective countries joined the EU (see 2004 and 2007 enlargement), which made players such as Adrian Mutu, Valeri Bojinov, Marek Jankulovski and Marius Stankevičius EU players.
The rule underwent minor changes in August 2004, June 2005, June 2006. and June 2007.
Large clubs with many foreigners usually borrow quotas from other clubs that have few foreigners or no foreigners in order to sign more non-EU players. For example, Adrian Mutu joined Juventus via Livorno in 2005, as at the time Romania was not a member of the EU. Other examples include Júlio César, Victor Obinna and Maxwell, who joined Internazionale from Chievo (first two) and Empoli respectively.
In April 2009, Serie A announced a split from Serie B. Nineteen of the twenty clubs voted in favour of the move in an argument over television rights; the relegation-threatened Lecce had voted against the decision. Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy's employers' association, became president of the new league.
Serie A had logos that featured its sponsor Telecom Italia (TIM). The logo that was introduced in 2010 had a minor change in 2016 due to the change of the logo of Telecom Italia itself. In August 2018, a new logo was announced, and another one in August 2019.
On 2 July 2010, the above conditional quota reduced back to one, though if a team did not have any non-EU players, that team could still sign up to three non-EU players. In 2011 the signing quota reverted to two.
Serie A (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛːrje ˈa]), also called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by TIM, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and the winner is awarded the Scudetto and the Coppa Campioni d'Italia. It has been operating as a round-robin tournament for over ninety years since the 1929–30 season. It had been organized by the Direttorio Divisioni Superiori until 1943 and the Lega Calcio until 2010, when the Lega Serie A was created for the 2010–11 season. Serie A is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world and it is often depicted as the most tactical and defensively sound national league. Serie A was the world's second-strongest national league in 2014 according to IFFHS. Serie A is ranked fourth among European leagues according to UEFA's league coefficient, behind La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga, and ahead of Ligue 1, which is based on the performance of Italian clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League during the previous five years. Serie A led the UEFA ranking from 1986 to 1988 and from 1990 to 1999.
In 2015–16 season, the following quota was announced.
Serie A also imposed Homegrown players rule, a modification of Homegrown Player Rule (UEFA). Unlike UEFA, Serie A at first did not cap the number of players in first team squad at 25, meaning the club could employ more foreigners by increasing the size of the squad. However, a cap of 25 (under-21 players were excluded) was introduced to 2015–16 season (in 2015–16 season, squad simply require 8 homegrown players but not require 4 of them from their own youth team). In the 2016–17 season, the FIGC sanctioned Sassuolo for fielding ineligible player, Antonino Ragusa. Although the club did not exceed the capacity of 21 players that were not from their own youth team (only Domenico Berardi was eligible as youth product of their own) as well as under 21 of age (born 1995 or after, of which four players were eligible) in their 24-men call-up, It was reported that on Lega Serie A side the squad list was not updated.
In April 2016, it was announced that Serie A was selected by the International Football Association Board to test video replays, which were initially private for the 2016–17 season, allowing them to become a live pilot phase, with replay assistance implemented in the 2017–18 season. On the decision, FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio said, "We were among the first supporters of using technology on the pitch and we believe we have everything required to offer our contribution to this important experiment."
Serie A is one of the most storied football leagues in the world. Of the 100 greatest footballers in history chosen by FourFourTwo magazine in 2017, 42 players have played in Serie A, more than any other league in the world. Juventus is the team that has produced the most World Cup champions (25), with Inter (19), Roma (15) and Milan (10), being respectively third, fourth and ninth in that ranking.