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Walter Zenga sacked after Dubai holiday

Serie A side Sampdoria have announced the sacking of coach Walter Zenga amid reports former Fiorentina handler Vincenzo Montella will take over at the Luigi Ferraris stadium.

Walter Zenga sacked after Dubai holiday
Walter Zenga has angered the hierarchy at Sampdoria by taking an unannounced trip to Dubai. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Sampdoria dropped to 10th place in Serie A, 11 points behind leaders Fiorentina, following a 2-0 home defeat by La Viola on Sunday.

It was Samp's first home defeat of the season and after fans called for Zenga's sacking at the final whistle, club president Massimo Ferrero obliged on Tuesday.

A club statement said: “Sampdoria announces that Walter Zenga has been relieved of his duties as first team coach.

“President Massimo Ferrero and the club are disappointed this relationship came to an end prematurely and wish Walter Zenga all the very best for the future.”

Zenga's sacking came after the former Italy goalkeeper, known as L'Uomo Ragno (Spider Man) in his playing days, travelled to Dubai for a short holiday on Monday without telling club officials.

Italian media reports quoted Zenga as saying he had no ill feeling towards the club, for whom he played from 1994 to 1996, having spent the bulk of his career with Inter Milan.

“I don't feel betrayed, I'm happy I had the chance to coach a team that I also played for in the past,” said Zenga.

“When you're a coach, you expect to constantly come under scrutiny. It's part of the game.”

Montella, sacked by Fiorentina at the tail end of last season, is now tipped to take over with reports claiming Ferrero is negotiating with the Florence-based club, with whom Montella still has a contract until 2017.

Zenga's sacking was the second to come in Serie A Tuesday, during the break for international football, following Palermo's announcement that Giuseppe Iachini had been sacked and replaced by Davide Ballardini.

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FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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