Thursday April 19 2012
Cellino: Cagliari driven out

President Massimo Cellino has claimed that Cagliari have been forced out of their own city by the council, as they continue to plan for playing in Trieste.

Cellino has been in dispute with the local authorities for a number of years over plans to build a new stadium and also the renovation of the Isolani’s current Stadio Sant’Elia.

In an initially-conceived short-term measure as the disagreements with the latest city mayor came to a boil just before Easter, Cellino took the decision to have Cagliari play their home fixtures in the north-east town of Trieste, 600 miles away from Sardinia.

With the club now looking set to end the season playing their remaining home games at the Stadio Nereo Rocco, Cellino has now looked to assert his point of view on the whole affair.

“We have been driven from Cagliari,” he said in an address to students at Sardinia’s university on Thursday.

“The politicians are always the same - they talk a lot but do not produce anything. For 10 years we have read the same things in the papers.

“I have no problem with [city mayor Massimo] Zedda, I could never play tug of war with a child.

“Actually, I’m glad he was elected, but we must remember that Presidents and mayors come and go whilst Cagliari remains, and this is most important.”

The club’s supporters are reportedly considering bringing legal action against Cellino for damages, both moral and economic, for having to undergo the 600-mile journey across the country in order to support their team at ‘home’.

“It is not because of us that we have left the stadium - we have been virtually banished from Cagliari. The stadium is totally inadequate, in everything from the electrical system to the stands.

“Zedda and I are in dispute over the maintenance of the concrete of the structure, but the reality is that the stadium is in these conditions because it is old.”

There is a hint of another way out for the Rossoblu, through another local branch in the city, who are reportedly happy to offer the club a relatively cheap deal to relocate and build a stadium in their boundaries, but Cellino remains sceptical.

“This is a war between the titans. I will not believe [this new possibility] until I see the work completed. The problem is that they always find an excuse to block anything.”

Cellino was asked by those at the seminar for reasons as to why he has fallen out with recent Coaches Davide Ballardini and Roberto Donadoni. Sacked by Cellino in pre-season, Donadoni faces Cagliari this weekend as Parma Coach.

“The first [Ballardini] was fired for inappropriate use of a company computer. That’s all I can say. The latter [Donadoni] lacked style when appearing in the stands at Bergamo on the day of our defeat against Atalanta. In addition, the next day he left for New York when he was still being paid by us.

“I’m unable to tolerate this kind of behaviour, the facts determined themselves so as to warrant us not paying him the last few months of his salary that he should have received before moving to Parma.”

The President also spoke of the futures of Davide Astori and Mauricio Pinilla, claiming that if the first was sold this summer then he would resign as President whilst also saying that they are keen to redeem Pinilla from Palermo at the end of the season.