Ital­ian foot­ball falls deeper into cri­sis

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Sport -

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.

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