The football world continues to react after Prime Minister Mario Monti suggested calcio be stopped for two or three years. “It’s not a solution.”
The latest betting scandal has rocked the country and Monti raised eyebrows today when musing “if it would help, then for two or three years it might be an idea to have a total suspension of the game.”
Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini already reacted in no uncertain terms by stating it was “nonsense” and the PM “ought to be ashamed” of even considering such an idea.
“I agree there should be no discount for those who cheated, but stopping the Leagues would mean mortifying all of football, punishing the vast majority who work honestly and losing thousands of jobs,” added FIGC President Giancarlo Abete.
“Besides, despite what has been suggested, professional football does not receive a single Euro from taxpayers’ money. It is financed by private resources and commercial income, then pays €1,100m Euros per year to the Government.
“We must be careful not to start creating confusion around these sensitive issues. The €64m given to the Federation is used exclusively for amateur football, the youth team sectors and schools, the sporting justice system and referees who ensure there are over 700,000 games per year.”
Former Milan and Italy star Gianni Rivera, now President of the FIGC youth team sector, also responded to the Prime Minister.
“I am very disappointed with his comments. I had faith in the Prime Minister, but these statements were unnecessary and also bad timing.
“I am not going to defend this football world, but one must also not exaggerate and I don’t understand this attitude. Considering the comments came from Monti, we ought to be worried about the future of this country.”
Cagliari President Massimo Cellino gave his verdict on Monti’s suggestion that football be shut down in Italy.
“With all due respect, as a businessman and humble citizen, I say problems must be faced and resolved. You don’t resolve anything by stopping.
“If football were to stop, at least I’d get a rest after 20 years in this sport! It’s not a solution, though. In Italy there are so many commissions and everyone talks a good talk, but at the end of the day nothing ever gets resolved.”