Italian clubs permitted two non-EU players

MILAN - Serie A clubs will be allowed to sign two non-European Union players per season instead of the current one, the Italian football federation (FIGC) said on Tuesday.

The FIGC said in a statement that the change, which will come into effect for the 2011/12 season, had been unanimously approved at a meeting of the federation.

"The return of the two non-EU players is important for Italian football and will enable teams to recover their competitiveness," Serie A president Maurizio Beretta (pictured) told the league's website.

The restrictions were imposed a year ago following Italy's first-round exit at the 2010 World Cup and were aimed at encouraging clubs to invest in local talent.

Top clubs say the move backfired as it has put them at a disadvantage against their European rivals, with no Italian clubs progressing past the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season.