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Italy’s football team expected to remain coachless until June

Outgoing Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio said on Wednesday he did not expect a new coach to be appointed before next June.

Italy's football team expected to remain coachless until June
Italy players after Sweden knocked them out of the World Cup play-offs. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Italy have been without a coach since Giampiero Ventura was sacked after the four-time champions failed to qualify for the World Cup finals last November.

Tavecchio was forced to resign as FIGC chief but will remain in charge until his successor is elected later this month.

“I'm in charge until January 29th, and I don't think that by that date there will be the new national team coach,” the 74-year-old said on the sidelines of the presentation of the new 2017-2018 Panini Collection in Milan.

“I won't be the one that chooses the new coach. I can also tell you that the best coaches are under contract until June. It's difficult for the new coach to be appointed before then.”

Among the names being touted are Zenit Saint-Petersburg's Roberto Mancini, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio will oversee Italy's friendlies against England and Argentina while the country awaits the
appointment, said one of the candidates to replace Tavecchio, former Roma midfielder Damiano Tommasi, on Wednesday.

Italy play Argentina on March 23rd, and then travel to England four days later.

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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