Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Giants walk out after Lega vote

Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi beat Juventus chief Giovanni Cobolli Gigli to a key Lega Calcio vote, prompting Serie A's 'big five' clubs to walk out this evening.

The union of 42 Serie A and B clubs is reaching meltdown following the surprise election and AC Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani warned: "We are seeking legal advice."

The election for a sixth counsellor to join Torino’s Urbano Cairo, Lazio’s Claudio Lotito, Giampaolo Pozzo of Udinese, Livorno President Aldo Spinelli and Atalanta’s Ivan Ruggeri was held today.

It was expected to be Juventus' Cobolli Gigli, but instead Parma patron Ghirardi won the vote 11-8.

Milan, Inter, Juventus, Roma and Napoli walked out soon after the results were declared this evening, upset that they would have no say in the decisions of the comittee.

"With this failed election of Cobolli Gigli, there are no representatives of the five big clubs in the council, because Rosella Sensi is the vice-President without a vote and Massimo Moratti and myself, as Federation counsellors, have no vote either," explained Galliani.

"We believe this council does not represent all of Serie A, as 16 per cent of the fans support 15 clubs, but the 84 per cent of supporters in the stadiums will always lose a vote now, as we are in the minority. So we left."

"We certainly won’t sit here impotently," added Galliani. "Even if we have to change some things, we’ll still be in the minority and can’t get a vote. We have already considered a course of action, but the lawyers suggested we keep it to ourselves for the moment."

The main problem with this set-up is who decides on the division of pay-per-view television rights and the funds handed over to the smaller Serie A and B clubs. The top clubs obviously generate the majority of the income, but are now left with no say in the matter.

"It is a shame, as I believe the side with the most fans should be able to give its contribution in a time where there are so many important decisions to be made," said Cobolli Gigli.

Atalanta President Ruggeri said: "The vote was democratic. I'm sorry it came out badly for them but we can't change the regulation now. I'm convinced all council members will continue to work for the benefit of the whole League."

Source: C4 Football Italia

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