Sicilian town scraps footballer’s citizenship

Sicilian town scraps footballer's citizenship
Footballer Fabrizio Miccoli said he grew up with "anti-mafia" values. Photo: AFP/Marcello Paternostro
Fabrizio Miccoli, the captain of Palermo football team, has had his citizenship revoked by Corleone town council for slurring the memory of murdered anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone.

In a bugged telephone conversation with a mafia boss, Miccoli referred to Falcone as "filth".

The footballer has been linked to the mafia over allegations of extortion and a phone-card scam.

Falcone was killed in 1992, along with his wife and three bodyguards, in a mafia car bombing near the Sicilian town of Capaci. Miccoli last week apologized for the remarks during a tearful interview.

He has denied the allegations of connections to the mafia and is confident his name will be cleared. He said last week that he grew up with "anti-mafia" values.

Miccoli was made an honorary citizen of Corleane to set an example to the children of the town and to "promote values such as loyalty, solidarity and healthy competition, which we must teach the new generations," mayor Leoluchina Savona said in a report in Corriere del Mezzogiorno. Miccoli's alleged links to the mafia and remarks about Falcone were "intolerable", he added.

Falcone, who was 53 when he died, spent most of his life fighting the mafia. He was chief prosecutor at the 1987 "maxi trial", when nearly 400 Mafia members were sent to jail.

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