After going missing in England for four years, Vince Grella is set to return to Italy, not the A-League. Can you blame him?
Football scandal to engulf clubs and top names
The scandal besetting Italian football is getting bigger and bigger. It started with second and third division clubs. Now Serie A clubs are being implicated. Some of the names mentioned in a court transcript are bewildering. AC Milan and Roma are among them. At this stage however, it looks more like “false pretences” on the part of some of the people involved. There’s nothing suss about the ever-increasing number of matches involving Bari last season. With the team all but relegated, Bari ultras allegedly threatened some of the players and asked told the team to lose up to six matches so that they could bet and win on the result. The team even lost the local derby against Lecce. If it is proved that Lecce was also involved in the scam, that club is in big trouble.
Balotelli strikes again
I am not referring to his goal-scoring ability. In a week he’d rather forget, Balotelli crashed his Bentley into another car, was alleged to have had a fight with a team-mate, used a giant water hose against a group of young girls and admitted having sex with the prostitute previously involved in a Wayne Rooney scandal. But at least, in this latest episode, he can claim a status-enhancing detail. It was all free of charge. A sign no doubt, of Balotelli’s sex appeal. After all, he is better looking than Rooney. Despite all his troubles, Balotelli does have a high opinion of himself. Lately he was wearing a T-shirt with this message: “Not only am I perfect, I’m Italian, too”. A plus or a minus?
Fair play at Juventus Stadium
Napoli was comprehensively beaten 3-0 in the recent match in Turin against Juventus. Its supporters, including children and people with disabilities, were too. In the circumstances, Italian police were conspicuous by their absence. Now just wait for revenge when the two teams meet again in the final of the Italian Cup late in May. Rome may well burn.
Italian football broke
Actually it IS broke. A report commissioned by FIGC - the Italian football association - confirms a disturbing trend. Total debts amount to 2.6 billion euros, losses for last season were a total of $A428 million. Income from gate takings represents only 10 percent of the total. Stadia occupancy is a mere 56 percent. Only eight clubs have registered a profit at the end of the financial year: Udinese, Lazio, Napoli, Parma, Catania and Palermo as well as Bari and Brescia who were relegated for their trouble. No wonder the Luigi Ferraris Stadium , home to Genoa and Sampdoria, has been closed to the two clubs: the electricity bill has not been paid and supply was disconnected.
Cagliari “home” match
Cagliari will play its next “home” match in Trieste, 884 kilometres away from the Sardinian capital. This is the latest chapter of a long running dispute between the football club and the Cagliari municipality. The Sant’Elia Stadium is about to crumble, but local politicians refuse to authorise the construction of a new stadium.
Local elections decided by ultras
Only a couple of years ago, mercifully, the once mighty Verona side plummeted to the third division. Regrettably, it went up to second division last season and is now in contention for promotion to Serie A, which means a resurgence of its pitiful, racist ultras. Their power is back and they are now influencing the forthcoming municipal elections. There are eight candidates for Mayor, and they are all counting on the ultras votes to be elected.
Australians come and go
- Carl Valeri is set to play in Serie A next season. Either with his current team, Sassuolo, among the leaders in Serie B, or with Bologna, coached by his former mentor Stefano Pioli.
- Vince Grella is leaving Blackburn at the end of this season, assuming he was ever actually there. But he won’t be coming to Australia. He’ll go back to the hills of Tuscany with his young family and look for a club there. Can you blame him?
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