Commentary

Italian soccer crisis deepens -- no federation president elected

If you think American soccer has got problems, take a look at Italian soccer. It not only doesn't have a league president and national team coach, it doesn't have a federation president.



The much-anticipated election of a new Italian soccer federation (FIGC) president to replace Carlo Tavecchio, who resigned after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, went four ballots and lasted 10 hours. This was the result that was supposed to produce a winner:

59.09% blank votes
39.05% Gabriele Gravina
1.85% Cosimo Sibilia

There were three candidates to succeed Tavecchio: Sibilia, president of the Lega Dilettanti, the amateur division and largest stakeholder with 34 percent of the vote, Gravina, the head of Lega Pro (third and fourth division) with 18 percent of the vote, and Damiano Tommasi, the head of the Assocalciatori, the Italian players' union that controls 20 percent of the vote.

The winner of the first ballot needed 75 percent of the vote to be elected, the winner of the second ballot needed two-thirds of the vote and after that the winner needed just a majority of the vote to prevail. No candidate got close to 50 percent in the first three rounds, and when Tommasi was forced to drop out after the third round with the lowest vote total and he told his supporters to submit blank ballots it assured no one would win.

Sibilia, the favorite to succeed Tavecchio, also from the amateur division, then followed suit and told his supporters to submit blank ballots.

The FIGC was declared "commissariata," placed under the emergency control of a commissioner by the Italian Olympic committee (CONI), just like Lega Serie A, which operated the Italian first division. Tommasi, the former Italian international who called for radical reforms in Italian soccer, said it was only right for someone on the outside to step in, given the problems within the federation leadership.

"Maybe it's not a coincidence that we didn't qualify for the World Cup," he said.
2 comments about "Italian soccer crisis deepens -- no federation president elected".
  1. Kenneth Barr, January 30, 2018 at 6:49 a.m.

    Looks like cattenaccio isn't just for on the pitch.

  2. Ben Myers, January 30, 2018 at 2:51 p.m.

    If only the US could have presidential elections with blank ballots and a 50% majority winner.

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