The competition will only have 40 teams involved, with only Serie A and Serie B clubs eligible for participation, much to the frustration of clubs in Serie C and Serie D.
As explained by La Gazzetta dello Sport, the new format is being brought in with the aim of making the competition more attractive for television and, in theory, to guarantee more competitive fixtures from the start.
Smaller clubs unhappy
“The decision to exclude Lega Pro teams not only violates rights but is an expression of an elitist conception of football,” Lega Pro president Francesco Ghirelli said.
“Lega Pro will take every initiative possible to protect the rights of its teams and to safeguard a football culture that is respectful of the game’s most authentic values.
“Innovation is okay, but the football system has to be looked after.”
The Coppa Italia will kick off on August 15, with just 12 teams playing in its first round.