Sporting Locri, located in Reggio Calabria, home to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia group, was among Italy’s top five-a-side women’s teams.
But the club’s president, Ferdinando Armeni, disbanded the side amid mafia-style intimidation, which included a threat against his three-year old daughter, Corriere dello Sport reported.
The intimidation got underway earlier this month when a note was left on his car, reading: “It’s time to close to Sporting Locri. Leave!”
The same message was also received by Giovanni Primerano, the club’s vice president. Both men reported the incidents to the police at the time.
When that message was ignored, the tyres on Armeni's car were slashed and another note was placed on the dashboard, reading: “Maybe we haven't been clear. Sporting Locri must close”.
Armeni also told TG1 that a note was left in the back of the car, where his daughter usually sits, asking: “Who usually sits here?”
The team, founded just five years ago, was due to host Lazio on January 10th.
“Locri must play,” Malagò said.
“The club’s managers, technicians and, above all, its athletes must not give in to these shameful acts, which are intolerable in a civilized country.”
Carlo Tavecchio, the president of the Italian Football Federation, said: “Italian football is united against violence and threats of those who do not want to play sport.”
The club’s website has also ceased to exist, with the message “Closed for dignity” posted on the home page. A notice on the team's Facebook page read “Game over”.