Saturday, 13 January 2007

Italian Federation in turmoil - again

Italian football’s hierarchy looks set for another revolution, as Lega Calcio chief Antonio Matarrese may run for the FIGC Presidency.

Giancarlo Abete was set to take over as President of the Federation after former leader Franco Carraro stepped aside in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal.

However, the agreement to pass on the baton has fallen through and the Lega Calcio – a union of Serie A and B clubs – will attempt to gain more control over the sport.

“The Lega will present its own candidate to the elections for FIGC President,” announced Lega chief Matarrese. “We will try to do everything in our power to ensure all the other elements stand with that candidate. The handing over of power predicted after Carraro’s tenure no longer stands, because he isn’t there to pass on the baton.”

At the moment the Federation is run by Luca Pancalli, who is also the head of the CONI Italian Olympic Committee.

If the Lega is to take control, then the most likely man to put forward would be Matarrese – who has already been FIGC President from 1987 to 1996 and FIFA Vice-President.

“We haven’t found our candidate yet,” noted Matarrese. “Will it be me? You’ll never hear me say that.”

It is a damning indictment for Abete, who is the current FIGC Vice-President and stayed close to the Italy squad during their World Cup win.

“I didn’t expect such a complete aversion to Abete,” explained Matarrese. “In the Lega meeting, absolutely everyone was against the idea of him taking over. To weaken the Lega now would be suicide that doesn’t do any favours to the CONI or the FIGC. Pancalli is too busy launching accusations and threats.”

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