Italian football resumed after the war with a very protracted battle to find the National Champions.
In northern Italy, following some preliminary elimination rounds, there were 8 regional leagues, each of six teams. The top two sides in these groups progressed to the 'semifinals', which were in fact, three leagues of six. This produced a round robin final between Internazionale, Juventus and Genoa. Internazionale won the northern final group.
Southern Italy had 3 regional leagues ( made up of 6, 7 and 5 teams), again with the two top sides in each league progressing to a semi final (2 groups of 3). This produced a final in which Livorno beat Fortitudo Roma.
Internazionale and Livorno met for the national final at Bologna on 20th June, Inter winning by 3-2.
1920-21 Pro Vercelli
The 1920-21 season saw an even bigger field of entrants.
In Liguria region there was a preliminary round and then an 8 team regional league.
In Piedmont there were two 6 team leagues. The top 2 sides in each league progressed and the 2 third placed teams played off.
In Lombardy there were 6 leagues of 4 teams, the group winners progressing to a 6 team final round from which 4 teams progressed.
Veneto had two groups of 5 teams with the top 2 teams in each group making a regional final round of which the top 2 progressed.
Emilia-Romagna 2 leagues of 5 teams produced a regional final between the 2 group winners and a play off between the two second placed teams. The craziest result of all came in the match between the group winners, Bologna beat Modena 10-1 in the first leg but lost the return 1-0. Despite the aggregate score of 10-2 the two sides had to play a tie break, as aggregate was not taken into account, only 'games won'! Bologna won the replay 1-0.
The position after all this was that there were still 4 groups of 4- the winners of each group to go on to a semi final. Further complications arose here, as two of the 4 groups required tie break matches (there being no means, such as goal difference, of separating the teams being employed). Legnano and Torino drew their tie break and both promptly withdrew from the tournament.
The next stage saw Pro Vercelli beat Alessandria to claim a place in the Northern Final against Bologna (who had a bye following the withdrawal of both their prospective opponents). Pro Vercelli won this final 2-1 after extra time.
The south was much simpler:
Tuscany- a league of 8, top 2 go through.
Lazio- a league of 8, top 2 go through.
Campania- 2 groups of 4, the top 2 of each going through to a qualification group, again with the top 2 progressing.
This produced a semi final - 2 groups of 3, with the winners of each group ( Livorno and Pisa) meeting in the southern final.
Pisa won 1-0.
Pro Vercelli and Pisa met in the national final in Turin on July 24th, with Pro Vercelli winning 2 – 1.
If you find the account of the 1920-21 season confusing and absurd, you are in exalted company. Vittorio Pozzo had been campaigning for a rationalization of the national championship. He could never get his resolutions enacted, however, simply because the large number of small clubs who benefited from the complex system of leagues and groups and playoffs would veto ant changes. The bigger clubs though were also getting disillusioned with the season that ran from October until the last week of July. They supported Pozzo's plan.
1921–22 Prima Divisione (CCI) Pro Vercelli
As a result a breakaway league was formed under the auspices of the
Confederazione Calcistica Italiana- 2 leagues of 12 teams in the north and 4 groups of various sizes in the south producing a 2 legged final in which Pro Vercelli beat Fortitudo (Rome) 3-0 and 5-2.
This transpired to be Pro Vercelli's last major trophy to date.
1921–22 Prima Categoria (FIGC) USD Novese
In the meantime the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio persisted with their national Championship (which is considered the valid championship in the continuum of the history of the scudetto) despite the defection of the most powerful cubs, including Pro Vercelli, Juventus , Milan ,Torino, Genoa and Internazionale.
Based on the familiar abundance of regional groups, the title was won by USD Novese, 2-1 winners in the final over Sampierdarenese (who would later merge with Andrea Doria to form Sampdoria).
1922-23 Genoa CFC
Reconciliation between the two governing bodies. After qualification rounds there were 36 teams in the northern section and 19 in the south. Delightfully simple- 3 leagues of 12 and the top team in each league goes into a final round, which was won by Genoa.
In the south there were 4 regional qualifying groups of varying sizes, the top placed teams and runners up progressing to form 2 groups of four, the winners of which contested the two-legged southern final in which Lazio beat A.C. Savoia 1908.
Genoa beat Lazio 4-1 at home on July 15th and a week later traveled to Rome where they won the second leg 2-0. This was Genoa's 2nd Scudetto under the management of former Woolwich Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers player William Garbutt, who had been at the club since 1912.
1923-24 Genoa CFC
In this season the northern section was even more straightforward. There were two leagues of 12 and the winners (Bologna and Genoa ) played each other in a two-legged final that Genoa won 2-1.
The southern section had three proper smaller groups, a two team play off for Sicilian clubs and one region where the only entrant received a walkover into the next round. Two groups of four then played and the two group winners (Savoia 1908 and Alba Roma ) met in the final.
As winners Savoia met Genoa in a two-legged national final, Genoa winning 4-2.
Alba Roma made it one step further this season, beating Anconitana in the southern final. The northern final between Bologna and Genoa was a marathon- in the scheduled two legged final Genoa won the first leg in Bologna 2-1 and Bologna won in Genoa by the same score.
The first replay was drawn 2-2 and a second 1-1. Bologna then won a third replay (the 5th match of the series ) 2-0. The first leg of the final took place on the 24th may and the decisive replay on the 9th August!
Bologna were too strong for Alba, winning the two legged final 4-0 at home and 2-0 away.
Alba Roma made it to the national final again, beating Internazionale-Naples 6-1 and 1-1 in the southern final. In the national final they met Juventus, who had won their qualifying group by eight points with a goal difference of +54 before beating reigning champions Bologna 2-1 in a replay after their two legged final was drawn 2-2 and 0-0. Juve's Hungarian manager Jenő Károly died of a heart attack a few days before the first meeting with Bologna. He was replaced by his countryman József Violak as player manager.
In the first leg of the final in Torino Juventus beat Alba 7-1. They followed this up with a 5-0 win in Rome to seal their second scudetto in style. Hungary's Ferenc Hirzer was Capocannoniere with 35 goals in 26 games for Juventus.
Luigi Allemandi1926-27 void
A landmark year saw the introduction of the Divisione Nazionale- out went the regions - there were two national leagues of just ten teams each and the top 3 teams in each made up a final group. Torino emerged as the champions, however, they were stripped of the title following the exposure of the first major match fixing scandal in Italian football, the Allemandi Case.
Juventus full back Luigi Allemandi was offered 50,000 lira by an official of Torino to throw the Turin derby game on June 5th, 25,000 lira up front and the rest after the match. Torino won the match 2–1, but when Allemandi went to collect he was refused, and the ensuing confrontation was overheard by a journalist. Torino were stripped of the title and Allemandi was banned for life. He was later pardoned by the Prince of Piedmont (later king Umberto II) in 1928 . He won the World Cup with Italy in 1934.
Torino bounced back from the scandal in marvellous style to win their first scudetto.
There were two 11 club national leagues , the top four clubs in each then going on to form a
'Final Round' league. Torino won group A with an impressive 78 goals in 20 matches. They won the 'Final Round' by 2 points from Genoa.
There were two National leagues of 16 teams each. Winners Bologna and Torino met in a two-legged final. Bologna won their home leg 3-1 and Torino theirs by 1-0. As aggregate scores were not taken into account a play off was held in Rome that Bologna won 1-0 through an 82nd minute goal by Giuseppe Muzzioli.
For the 1929-30 season Serie A was introduced, a national league consisting of 18 clubs.