Italian football falls deeper into crisis
THE Italian football federation (FIGC) has sank further into crisis after failing on Monday to elect a new president, two-and-a-half months after the national team crashed out of the World Cup.
After four rounds of voting amid chaotic scenes at a general meeting held in Fiumicino near Rome, none of the three candidates – president of the Amateur League (LND) Cosimo Sibilia, president of the third-tier Lega Pro division Gabriele Gravina and head of the professional players union (AIC) Damiano Tommasi – managed to obtain a majority.
Tommasi finished bottom in the second and third rounds so could no longer win, with a fourth ballot requiring a simple majority to win.
In the final round, Gravina received 39.06% of the vote, Sibilia 1.85%, with 59.09% blank ballots. The failure to elect a president will almost certainly mean that the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) will take control of the federation.
Coni president Giovanni Malago had asked again on Saturday for the vote to be postponed after previously saying that the vote should be held back for three months in order to allow Serie A to elect its president.
“The assembly failed to produce a result and we have to restart from zero,” Pasquale de Lise, who presided over the meeting, said.
The shock elimination in a playoff against Sweden had led to demands for a revolution in Italian football from grassroots level.
But this was not the message which emerged during the campaign, mostly centred on the question of candidatures and possible alliances, and which left very little room for programmes and proposals.
For many observers Monday’s fiasco was predictable. Gravinia, 64, and Sibilia, 58, the two candidates who weighed the heaviest in terms of votes in the election, were faced with the inflexibility of the younger Tommasi, a 43yearold former Roma and Italy player, who refused any alliance.
The state of Italian elite football is now worrying, as shown by the inability of clubs to agree on a name for the presidency of the league and the difficulty of selling TV rights for Serie A.
Italian football is without a president for both the FIGC and Serie A and has no national coach, following Gian Piero Ventura’s dismissal after Italy’s World Cup failure.
A budget of €5m (R74m) has been voted by the FIGC in the hope of attracting a big-name coach with possible candidates touted including Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte, Claudio Ranieri and Roberto Mancini.
The new coach will not be in place before Italy play their first matches since their elimination, friendlies against England and Argentina in March with U-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio stepping in on an interim basis.
But Italy should have a new coach before they start in the Uefa Nations League in September. – AFP
BACKING COACH: Chelsea’s England defender Gary Cahill says they are 100% behind their manager Antonio Conte following speculations on his departure from the club. INSPIRED: Man United midfielder Ander Herrera says what he likes about Alexis Sanchez is the way he keeps on fighting for the ball.
LOST OUT: Professional players union’s Damiano Tommasi.