Italian Serie A & B players will be coming to work a bit late this weekend. This time their bosses will not mind, in fact they will support it. In a statement released by the Italian Players’ Association (AIC – Associazione Italiana Calciatori), players from the Top 2 flights of Italian football will come 15 minutes late to the next round matches.
This weekend, players will arrive 15 minutes late to their respective matches in protest of punishments levied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Daniele Mannini and Davide Possanzini. The pair were each banned for a year on Thursday after they both arrived late for a drug test after a Serie B match in December 2007 while playing for Brescia.
Mannini (on the left) now plays for Napoli & Possanzini (on the right) remains at Brescia.
Mannini & Possanzini were originally given 15 day bans by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI – Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano) for coming late to the drug test even though the Italian Football Association, (FGIC – Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio), cleared the duo of any wrongdoing. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stepped in and appealed to CAS for tougher sentences and got them.
Some of the words being used to describe the punishments were “scandalous,” “excessive,” & “colossal injustice.” Brescia Chairman Gino Corioni once again stated that players were delayed because of his decision to scold the team after suffering a 3-0 home defeat to Chievo.
As a result of the scolding, the pair missed the half-hour deadline for submitting samples.
Corioni stressed that a doping official, whose job is to keep constant sight of chosen players, declined an invitation into the locker room. Napoli is especially hit hard by this decision as Mannini has been an important part of their season as they compete for a European spot.
No word on when an appeal or action against the CAS decision will be made but undoubtedly lawyers from the AIC, the clubs, and the players will do something. This drama is far from over so let’s hope that in the end justice is served.