FIGC in chaos as Rossi takes charge of Telecom Italia
Appointed in an emergency capacity to lead the Federation through the match-fixing scandal in May, Rossi stunned the sporting community when he was appointed President of the troubled telecommunication company late last night.
Although he has not formally handed in his resignation from the FIGC – and the CONI chief Gianni Petrucci confirmed he had only heard about the development through the news agencies – it would be practically impossible for him to continue in both positions.
“Rossi has no intention of leaving. I am convinced he’ll stay on,” FIGC Vice-President Vito Gamberale was quoted as saying in today’s newspapers.
But Rossi cannot lead Telecom through its controversial reconstruction plans and rewrite the Calcio rulebooks, as it would be a clear conflict of interest – the very situation his appointment was meant to prevent. Telecom Italia owns Alice (who show football on their mobile phone services), TIM (who sponsor Serie A and B) and La7 (a television channel that has 10 clubs in its digital pay-per-view package).
“How many posts can he hold? At this point I think it’s opportune for Rossi to resign, at the very least from his position as Extraordinary Commissioner for the FIGC,” said Minister for Justice Clemente Mastella.
“I am awaiting clarification,” added Minister for Sport Giovanna Melandri. “One thing has to be clear – the reformation of football must not be interrupted in any way.”
Rossi had been hailed by some quarters as the saviour of calcio, but bitterly criticised by others, such as Fiorentina President Diego Della Valle.
“I’m very glad he’s taking this position, I’m sure he’ll be well suited to the job,” sarcastically noted Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini. “Now we’ll get a new President for the FIGC, it can’t be that hard. We must immediately call a meeting and elect a new Federal chief. I’ve been asking for this for a long time.”
Now the race is on to find another man to lead the Federation – it would be the third such figure in five months, as Franco Carraro resigned in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal on May 16.
The Federation will be hoping to appoint a new chief before the tricky arbitration for those punished in the match-fixing trial take place in October. The appointment could either be with someone outside of the football world, in which case the prime candidates are Gianni Letta and Gamberale.
If the clubs choose a return to having the sport dictated by a person who knows the environment well, then current CONI chief Petrucci (who already took over temporarily in 2000) or Raffaele Pagnozzi (who was Extraordinary Commissioner from 1996 to 1997) are the most likely options.