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Football: Italy sacks coach Gian Piero Ventura

Gian Piero Ventura's reign as Italy coach ended on Wednesday after a World Cup qualifying fiasco during which the four-time champions failed to reach next year's finals in Russia.

Football: Italy sacks coach Gian Piero Ventura
Outside the Italian football federation, where Gian Piero Ventura's fate was decided. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP.

The 69-year-old's fate was sealed after a crisis meeting of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in Rome, with former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti among the favourites to take over and rebuild the Azzurri.

Ventura had refused to resign despite a 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden on Monday that saw Italy miss the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

“As of today Gian Piero Ventura is no longer the coach of the national team,” the FIGC said in a statement.

According to reports, Ventura will be paid his salary until the end of his contract in June 2018, which amounts to approximately €800,000 ($943,000).


Gian Piero Ventura. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

But FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio will stay on despite mounting pressure on him to also resign after a defeat which has left a nation traumatized.

“The federation president [Tavecchio] informed participants at the [crisis] meeting… of the impossibility for him to resign,” a FIGC statement read, awaiting “a series of proposals” on how to fix Italian football.

Tavecchio later told journalists that a new coach would be named at a special meeting of the FIGC federal council which would take place next Monday.

“We are considering big names for the role of coach,” the 74-year-old promised.

Ancelotti is seen as the frontrunner, as the 58-year-old is free since being sacked by Bayern Munich at the end of September.


Carlo Ancelotti. Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP

Italian Ancelotti has won three Champions League crowns, and league titles in Italy, England, Germany and France, and would provide the high profile required after the Ventura fiasco.

A return by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini are also being considered.

But opposition to Tavecchio remains despite promises to rebuild Italian football from grassroots level upwards with Damiano Tommasi, the head of the Italian Players' Union, storming out of the FIGC meeting after Tavecchio refused to quit.

“There doesn't appear to be the mood for change,” the former Roma midfielder told journalists. “Tavecchio has decided not to resign and continue with his office.

“The others haven't taken a position and said they'd decide in the future.

“We need credible elections, with new people; we won't solve the problems of Italian football by sacking the coach.

“If not, we'll keep stirring the same soup which has proved indigestible to so many.”


Carlo Tavecchio speaks to journalists after Wednesday's meeting. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

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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