Monday, 2 April 2007

Abete appointed as FIGC chief

Giancarlo Abete has been named as the new President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in Rome today, taking over following two temporary appointments.

The 56-year-old had previously worked as vice-President under former federation President Franco Carraro, who resigned when the Calciopoli scandal broke in May last year.

Since then, the Federation has been run by two extraordinary commissioners, Guido Rossi and then the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) vice-President Luca Pancalli in September - both men guiding Italian football's governing body through one of the most turbulent periods in its history.

The game was tarnished by that match-fixing scandal last summer and more recently by the death of a policeman in rioting after a Serie A match in February.

Abete, the only candidate to stand, received his mandate after winning 264 out of 271 votes from the assembly gathered at the Marriott Park Hotel in Rome and is expected to be assisted by current Lega Calcio chief Antonio Matarrese.

"I cannot hide my excitement," said Abete, who started working in the FIGC technical department in 1988. "It is a great day for me with a dream coming true and I'm ready to work with responsibility, humility and commitment. This sport must transmit positive messages and values again," he added, acknowledging the work that needs to be done to repair the image of Italian football.

Abete faces a busy first few weeks including helping to implement the new anti-hooligan law, which is likely to be passed by the Italian Senate on Tuesday.

He will also be expected to promote Italy's bid to host Euro 2012. UEFA's executive committee meets in Cardiff on April 17 and 18 to decide whether to assign the finals to Italy or one of two rival joint bids by Hungary and Croatia, or Poland and Ukraine.

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