Serie B officials have hit back after it was claimed that Italian football's second tier has been suspended.

Uncertainty has surrounded the start of the Serie B season due to a row over how many teams should be involved.

After a verdict in a court in Rome on Tuesday, Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) official Franco Frattini told Italian radio the league had been suspended.

A statement later in the day on the league's website, though, began: "Serie B is not suspended, the championship continues."

Serie B has had 22 teams since 2004 but three clubs – Avellino, Bari and Cesena – went bankrupt over the summer and it was decided to continue this season without replacing them.

This immediately prompted several legal challenges from teams that were either relegated last season or just missed out on promotion.

It had seemed that these challenges had failed earlier when CONI, the organisation which governs almost all sport in the country, rejected them but a regional court has now upheld an appeal against that decision from Serie C side Pro Vercelli.

Frattini, the president of CONI's sports justice court and a legal expert and politician who has twice served as Italy's foreign minister, told inBlu Radio that football gives him more headaches than the mafia trials he has to preside over.

"The new development is that the court in Lazio, as well as suspending the ruling, has also suspended the league," said Frattini.

As a result of this new ruling, he said CONI would re-examine the issue of whether the league should be a competition for 19 or 22 clubs on Friday and, if the decision is for 22, it will decide which three should be brought in on Monday.

The league described Frattini's remarks as "improvident" and insisted this weekend's fixtures will be played as normal.

"Such is the confusion that there is even someone talking about the suspension of Serie B," the statement read. "Improvident in this regard are today's statements by (CONI) president Franco Frattini.

"Instead the championship continues as planned because that's what millions of fans want. There is no prohibition provision that ordered the suspension."

The Veneto-based AS Cittadella currently lead Serie B after three wins from three games. Serie C, meanwhile, has yet to even start.

The league statement continued: "The precautionary ruling did not say anything in relation to the Serie B championship, otherwise it would have had to be suspended for the third matchday, which was played as scheduled.

"(This is) untruthful news that is damaging on an organisational and economic level and to the image of sponsors, partners, fans and clubs."