Football players in both the serie A and B leagues are seeing a substantial dwindling in their paycheques the average salaries this season are on par with what they were earning in the 1990s.

According to the Italian football league the gross average earnings of a serie A player are now around 900,000 a year, compared with 1,130 000 in 2002/2003. Similarly, serie B players' salaries have been reduced by nearly one third in the past three years, with average earnings currently around 204,000 per year.

However, while only around seven per cent of players earned over 1 million in 1994, there are now more than 20 per cent earning six-digit figures this season.

Footballers' earnings are not the only figures that have registered a drop the number of spectators has fallen dramatically as well, with only 19,511 in the 2005/06 season compared with 31,161 for the 1997/1998 season.

Among the reasons for the fall are the recent football scandals, violence in the stadiums and the cost of tickets.