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Italian Olympic committee steps in to run crisis-ridden FA

Rome (AFP) – Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) on Thursday stepped in to appoint a team including former AC Milan star Alessandro “Billy” Costacurta to oversee the crisis-ridden Italian football federation (FIGC).

CONI secretary general Roberto Fabbricini was appointed commissioner and will be assisted by deputies ex-Italy defender Costacurta and legal expert Angelo Clarizia. 

The trio were named after the FIGC election on Monday failed to produce a new president, two-and-a-half months after the national team crashed out of the World Cup precipitating a crisis.

“Let’s not hide from the truth,” said Fabbricini.

“We must re-establish the love affair between the national team and our country. I have a great team to work with to give football the role it deserves.”

The team also includes Massimo Proto, a private law officer, and Alberto De Nigro, former president of CONI’s Board of Auditors.

The vacuum at the top of Italian football extends beyond the FIGC as the top division, Serie A, has only had an interim president for almost a year and the national team has no coach, following Gian Piero Ventura’s dismissal.

Fabbricini announced that he was appointing CONI president Giovanni Malago as commissioner to oversee the Lega Serie A.

“I believe this is the best, the right way,” said Malago adding that among the commissioners “no-one has held previous roles within the FIGC. There is a discontinuity with the governance and (CONI) gave them a full mandate. 

“We must avoid the FIGC returning to a similar situation when this commissioner role ends.

“Fabbricini and two sub-commissioners, Clarizia and Costacurta, their CVs speak for themselves,” said Malago.

The commissionership will be for six months, until July 30, though it could be extending.

– ‘Kick start Italian football’ –

Italian Sports Minister Luca Lotti welcomed the appointments which he hoped would could “kick start football from zero” after months of uncertainty.

In the FIGC vote to succeed Carlo Tavecchio, who resigned after Italy’s World Cup exit last November, none of the three presidential candidates Cosimo Sibilia, Gabriele Gravina and Damiano Tommasi — could obtain a majority.

Former Italy and Roma player Tommasi, now head of the players’ union, was eliminated early. In the fourth ballot, the two remaining candidates each required more than 50 percent to win, yet neither could manage that, as 59.09 percent of voters left their ballots blank.

Meanwhile, Costacurta’s task will be to try and choose a new coach to replace Ventura with Under-21 manager Luigi Di Biagio overseeing upcoming friendlies against England and Argentina.

Among the names being touted are Zenit Saint-Petersburg’s Roberto Mancini, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti, and Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri.

“We have to start talks soon. The names are the ones you’ve already heard, people who have shared a lot of matches with me, and also military service,” said 51-year-old Costacurta.

“Like Mancini, just to use one of the palatable names. Conte performed a sporting miracle at the last European Championships.”

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