Pretty quickly, Paolo Dal Pino realized that the illustrious list of names on his glittering résumé, the long years spent in the boardrooms of some of Italy’s corporate behemoths, the experience that had gotten him the job — none of it was fitting preparation for running his country’s top soccer league.

Serie A, after all, did not function like the industrial giant Pirelli or the telecom provider Wind or the communications company Telit, the companies where Dal Pino had spent his career before, in January, agreeing to take charge of Italy’s top division. The league did not have a defined hierarchy or a sense of purpose. What it had, instead, was 20 presidents of 20 teams, bickering among themselves.

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