Milan (AFP) – Gian Piero Ventura was sacked as Italy coach on Wednesday after the four-time champions failed to reach the World Cup finals.
The veteran coach’s fate was sealed after a crisis meeting of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in Rome.
The 69-year-old had refused to resign despite a 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden on Monday saw Italy miss the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
“As of today Gian Piero Ventura is no longer the coach of the national team,” the FIGC said in a statement.
But FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio will remain in his position despite pressure on him to also resign after a defeat dubbed in the national press as an ‘apocalypse’ for Italy.
“The federation president (Tavecchio) informed participants at the (crisis) meeting… of the impossibility for him to resign,” a FIGC statement read.
“(Tavecchio) will have the responsibility (to submit to the federal council) a series of proposals on which the members of the council will be called upon to give their opinion,” the statement added.
A new coach is expected to be named at the FIGC federal council’s next meeting on November 28.
Earlier, Damiano Tommasi, the head of the Italian Players’ Union, stormed out of the FIGC meeting just minutes after Tavecchio refused to quit.
“There doesn’t appear to be the mood for change,” the former Roma midfielder told journalists. “Tavecchio has decided not to resign and continue with his office.
“The others haven’t taken a position and said they’d decide in the future.
“We need credible elections, with new people, we won’t solve the problems of Italian football by sacking the coach.
“If not, we’ll keep stirring the same soup which has proved indigestible to so many.”
Ventura had defended his leadership as “one of the best records in 40 years” despite failing to lead the 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 winners to their 19th World Cup.
“I lost only two games in two years,” he had told Italian television show Le Iene in a brief interview.
In fact, since the former Torino coach took over in July 2016, Italy have lost three matches — against France in Bari (3-1), Spain in Madrid (3-0) and Sweden in the World Cup first-leg play-off in Solna (1-0) — winning nine and drawing four.
Former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has been touted by the Italian press as the favourite to replace Ventura, as the 58-year-old is free since being sacked by Bayern Munich at the end of September.
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