Italians to mark big day
ROME: The Italian World Cup squad have decided to support celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unity with part of the bonus they hope to win in South Africa.
Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon told local media yesterday the team feels a duty to help out.
“The committee for unity celebrations has budget problems.
“Then we, who are a symbol that unites the whole country, have decided that if we get a bonus, each of us will contribute part, big or small, to emphasise the unity of Italy,” said Buffon.
Should Italy successfully defend its World Cup title, each player stands to receive a bonus of € 250 000 (R2.3m) and the team would donate € 600 000.
The 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy is to be celebrated in 2011, but the inter-ministerial organisational committee, which plans a series of nationwide events, has faced problems and controversy over dwin- dling funding and lukewarm support.
The Azzurri’s decision follows an appeal earlier this week from Roberto Calderoli, the minister for legislative simplification, to reduce possible bonuses in light of the financial crisis.
His proposal stirred criticism from the Azzurri and from the president of the Italian football federation, Giancarlo Abete, who said the bonuses came from the federation’s budget and prizes from international football ruling bodies.
“I hope that, in order to donate it, they do get the bonus. So I hope that they win. You can’t sell a bearskin without killing it,” Calderoli said.
“There has been so much controversy after my proposal and accusations of demagogy.
“The fact that somebody has given a positive response shows that it was fair, not demagogic.”
The Azzurri’s decision to make the donation hints at criticism of Calderoli. – Sapa-dpa