Italy

Roma's atrocious start keeps getting worse

Roma's atrocious start keeps getting worse

28/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30061055

 VERONA - It's fair to say that Roma's start to the season has been somewhat of a disaster. Their on-field performance was far from convincing as they could only manage a 0-0 draw with Hellas Verona.

 Then they were told they'd have to take a three-goal defeat for fielding an ineligible player and now they've had two members of their non-playing staff handed bans for breaches of the Covid-19 protocol.

 A 2-2 draw against champions Juventus might have put back some faith into the giallorossi fans, but will the Romans be able to scrap a top 4 finish this season?

 Game week one doesn't go to plan

 Paulo Fonseca's men made the long trip North to the Marcantonio Bentegodi stadium to face last season's surprise package Hellas Verona. Roma were odds on to get their season started with a victory.

 Roma bossed possession with 61% of the ball and rained 21 shots in on goal - compared to Verona's eight - but they couldn't find a way through the hosts rear-guard. A draw was far from the result Fonseca wanted to start the campaign, but it was by no means a disaster. Then came the sucker punch.

 In the build up to kick off Amadou Diawara, who played 89 minutes of the match, was listed as an under 22 players despite having turned 23-years-old in July. It had no impact on the result but clerical errors such as this have been looked on harshly in the past and Roma were not about to escape punishment free.

 Judge Gerardo Mastrandrea confirmed his stance. Verona have been awarded a 3-0-win meaning Roma sit on zero points. The club have confirmed that they'll be appealing the decision, but any reversal looks hugely unlikely given the listing of Diawara is literally an error that is shown in black and white. The fact it wasn’t a deliberate breach of rules means very little.

 Suspensions incoming

 With a point scrubbed out for what was plain human error, the club could have done with some positive news. Instead, they've had salt rubbed into their wounds. Rewind back to early July.

 Serie A was back underway after the enforced mid-season Covid-19 break and, despite The Blues coming out on top, Aurelio De Laurentiis - Napoli's president - was unhappy with the manner in which Roma's staff and subs conducted themselves during the match, which was played at Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo. His complaints centred around Roma’s failure to socially distance on the side lines and in the stands.

 The accusation wasn't taken lightly and the FIGC court have found two members of the Roma hierarchy guilty of breaking the coronavirus guidelines.

 The duo in question are club CEO Guido Fienga and medical expert Massimo Manara. As a result, Roma have been slapped with a £7,000 fine and Fienga and Manara have been hit with suspensions of 30 and 20 days respectively. On the surface, the punishments don't look too severe but they could cause a lot more harm that first meets the eye.

 What could the punishments mean for Roma?

 The decision to award Hellas Verona throws up one very obvious repercussion. On one hand, it might mean nothing. On the other, that point could be the difference between Fonseca achieving his targets and not.

 Where the intrigue really lays though is in Fienga's suspension. The fact that the club president isn't allowed pitch side or in the dressing room for a month is neither here nor there but the ban also means he's unable to partake in any transfer dealings.

 That's an area where Fienga is usually heavily involved. Fonseca is still desperate to add to his squad with Chris Smalling, Borja Mayoral and Arkadiusz Milik all reported targets. If they fail to get their desired deals over the line then they could be paying the price of that 30 day suspension all season long.

 A lifeline against Pirlo’s Juve

 Even though the situation looks quite awful for Roma, this weekend brought some hope as Fonseca’s men had a positive exhibition against Pirlo’s Juventus. The champions were left behind twice, as Veretout scored both goals at the Olimpico for Roma.

 However, Cristiano Ronaldo twice took away Roma’s advantage and the points were shared. Does this mean that AS Roma can dream with a positive season?

 Well, if they put the same effort as they did against Juventus they might. Nonetheless, they might need to attack the last week of transfers with some proper signings. The loan of Cengiz Under to Leicester left a gap on the wings and it would be interesting to see if there will be someone coming to take that place.

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 #FIRTalks: parliamo di #Rugby - Ep.9, FIR risponde alle domande sul protocollo per la ripartenz

#FIRTalks: parliamo di #Rugby - Ep.9, FIR risponde alle domande sul protocollo per la ripartenz

23/09/2020, Italy, Rugby, Federation Italanio Rugby, Article # 30054623


FIR Talk

FIR Talk

23/09/2020, Italy, Rugby, Federation Italanio Rugby, Article # 30053303


Luis Suarez Italian exam scandal

Luis Suarez Italian exam scandal

22/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30052144
Suarez in Perugia Sept. 17 ahead of his Italian exam

 PERUGIA - Investigations are underway on ‘irregularities’ in Barcelona striker Luis Suarez’s Italian language exam, which he sat in a bid for an EU passport to keep his dream of a Juventus transfer alive, Italian media reported on Tuesday.

  “The topics covered by the exam were previously agreed with the candidate and the relative mark was attributed even before it was taken,” Perugia Public Prosecutor Raffaele Cantone said.

 The 33-year-old last week sat the exam at Perugia University for Foreigners. But the fact that he slipped in and out in less than half hour did not go unnoticed.

 More than two hours is usually allocated to an official B1 Italian exam, which is made up of four parts – listening, reading comprehension, writing and speaking. The Finance police and the Public Prosecutor of the Umbrian Capital claim the exam “was set up ad hoc solely to allow the issue of a false certification of knowledge of B1 level Italian language.”

 According to the rules, Serie A clubs are limited in the number of non-EU (European Union) players they can recruit in one season.

 So Suarez, whose wife is an Italian citizen, required dual nationality in order to secure the transfer to Juventus.  

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 #Italrugby e #Italdonne new Home and Alternate kits 2020-2021: backstage

#Italrugby e #Italdonne new Home and Alternate kits 2020-2021: backstage

22/09/2020, Italy, Rugby, Federation Italanio Rugby, Article # 30052073


At Italian Open tournament, Nadal vies for 10th title

At Italian Open tournament, Nadal vies for 10th title

14/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30040810
Rafael Nadal vying for his tenth Italian Open title

 In an exhilarating rite of spring, I often attended the Italian Open.  This year the tournament takes place in mid-September like a farewell to summer, but because of Covid-19 I won’t be there.  Still, I remember years past when I returned to Rome to watch the grueling clay court matches and to participate in the fascinating spectacle that swirls around the periphery of the courts. If a city as multilayered and complex as Rome can be said to have a microcosm, then the Italian Open is it, compressing into a single week the essential elements of a 2,700-year-old metropolis that calls itself eternal, yet displays the frenetic energy of a fruit fly living only for a moment. All the Roman hallmarks are here—dazzling color and motion, dense golden light, copious food and wine, high fashion and low comedy, spontaneous friendship and rabid nationalism, grace under fire and ham-handed evocations of a real and imagined past.

 The tournament site, the Foro Italico, bristles with conflicting signs of order and anarchy. The order is entirely architectural, emphasizing examples of high Fascist style. Built in 1935 during Benito Mussolini’s regime, the structures and statues and a tall obelisk, which still bears Il Duce’s name, were intended to remind the world of the grandeur of ancient Rome, which the dictator was determined to re-create. Instead he led the country onto the losing side of WWII, and the Foro’s broad slabs of marble now serve as benches or as billboards for graffiti.

 The anarchy at the Italian Open doesn’t appear to perturb Italians, but it can be daunting to visiting fans who set a premium on linear reasoning. In the parking lot vehicles follow patterns and jockey for places in a fashion few Americans can imagine.  It’s like a jolly bumper car game.  Then at ticket booths and entry gates, where one expects to see lines, Italians tend to form jostling arabesques.  That won’t be the case this year, however.  Italian authorities have banned spectators from the tournament because of Covid-19.   

 Once past the gates and onto the grounds, the crowd used to spread out and ogle not just the tennis, but the fashion show. It’s hard to say who is more elegantly dressed, the players or the spectators.  Often they wear the same outfits. Designer tennis clothes, in bold stripes or clinging pastels, are synonymous with Italy, and in no place are Fila, Ellesse, and Tacchini products better displayed than at the Foro Italico, where style, the creation of a bella figura, appears to be important to fans and players alike.

 Bordered by Viale delle Olimpiadi and Viale dei Gladiatori, the field courts are set in amphitheaters sunk below street level, and the torrid air that collects in these hollows is thick with pollen, women’s perfume, and the aroma of garlic and oregano from nearby restaurants.  Surrounding Campo Centrale, the main show court, loom massive white marble statues of athletes. Ironically, they are all—even the skier and the ice skater—naked, and after recent renovations added seats at the top of the stadium, the statues appear to be comically inverted Peeping Toms who, while nude themselves, gaze into the bleachers full of completely clothed people.

 On my first trip to the Foro Italico in the late 70s, an immense man with an even more immense voice stood up during change-overs and sang arias.  It was Luciano Pavarotti cheering on Adriano Panatta, then the Italian Number One.  But not all of Pavarotti’s countrymen are as artful at urging on their local heroes, and the history of the Italian Open has been marred by fans flinging seat cushions, soda cans and sandwiches.  On a few notable occasions players have retreated rather than suffer the outrages that the crowd and Italian officials sometimes commit in support of local players. In 1976, Harold Solomon defaulted in the semifinals after getting a string of flagrantly unfair calls. Two years later, José Higueras, a Spaniard with a reputation for impeccable manners, walked off when spectators started hurling insults and coins. A day later, when Adriano Panatta played Bjorn Borg, the Swede held an unassailable advantage. He was used to people throwing money at him. Promoters and advertisers had been doing it for years. When Italian fans slung coins at Borg, he coolly pocketed the loose change and beat Panatta.

 The outside courts lie at the bottom of an enormous oblong cavity styled on the lines of the Circo Massimo, Rome’s ancient chariot racecourse.  In years past,serious fans often remained standing on the walkway encircling the courts. This allowed them to shelterunder the umbrella pines that canopy the footpath. Up there in the shade the air is mild, while down on the courts, during long, hard-fought rallies, players shed rivulets of perspiration that speckle the clay with what looks like blood, calling to mindbullfights. Guillermo Villas, the Argentinian ace, once described the Italian Open in terms worthy of any matador facing death in the afternoon: “The sun is hot. The court is slow. The balls are heavy. It is not easy.”

 In what now seems like a former life fans werefree to retreat from matches and sip Campari and soda.  Inrestaurants on the grounds, they witnesseda different kind of entertainment. Say what you will about Italians and their frequent indifference to northern notions of efficiency, they can certainly choreograph a meal. If the food falls short of gourmet standards, the show is never less than world class. As in France, eating is a religious ritual, but it’s low church rather than high, closer to a fundamentalist revival than to a solemn benediction. Each course is heralded by loud hymns of praise or blame, the clatter of dropped cutlery and plates, the fast-forward ballet of white-jacketed waiters shouting “Momento!” or “Subito!” as they scurry between tables.

 By one of those screwy coincidences that abound in Rome, tennis at the Foro Italico during the 1980s could claim no better than second billing. On Viale delle Olimpiadi, in a gymnasium barricaded by sandbags and surrounded by armored personnel carriers, the Italian murder trial of the century took place over the course of three years.  While players bashed ground strokes back and forth, judges heard evidence against Red Brigades terrorists who kidnapped and assassinated Aldo Moro, the former prime minister. It was almost as if John Hinckley, President Reagan’s would-be assassin, were tried in a locker room at Flushing Meadow during the U.S. Open.  But in Rome nobody seemed to find this bizarre.

 In 2020, with Rafael Nadal vyingfor his tenth Italian Open title, at least one thing might seem utterly predictable.  But in Rome one never knows when some surreal or sublime incident will upset the odds.  I’ll stay tuned on TV thousands of miles away, tensely following what will happen.

------------------------

 Michael Mewshaw’s three non-fiction books about tennis, Short Circuit, Ladies of the Court, and Ad In Ad Out are now available as e-books.

 cc



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Italian Open Update

Italian Open Update

14/09/2020, Italy, Multi Sports, Italy Publications, Article # 30040521
Rafael Nadal vying for his tenth Italian Open title

 In an exhilarating rite of spring, I often attended the Italian Open.  This year the tournament takes place in mid-September like a farewell to summer, but because of Covid-19 I won’t be there.  Still, I remember years past when I returned to Rome to watch the grueling clay court matches and to participate in the fascinating spectacle that swirls around the periphery of the courts. If a city as multilayered and complex as Rome can be said to have a microcosm, then the Italian Open is it, compressing into a single week the essential elements of a 2,700-year-old metropolis that calls itself eternal, yet displays the frenetic energy of a fruit fly living only for a moment. All the Roman hallmarks are here—dazzling color and motion, dense golden light, copious food and wine, high fashion and low comedy, spontaneous friendship and rabid nationalism, grace under fire and ham-handed evocations of a real and imagined past.

 The tournament site, the Foro Italico, bristles with conflicting signs of order and anarchy. The order is entirely architectural, emphasizing examples of high Fascist style. Built in 1935 during Benito Mussolini’s regime, the structures and statues and a tall obelisk, which still bears Il Duce’s name, were intended to remind the world of the grandeur of ancient Rome, which the dictator was determined to re-create. Instead he led the country onto the losing side of WWII, and the Foro’s broad slabs of marble now serve as benches or as billboards for graffiti.

 The anarchy at the Italian Open doesn’t appear to perturb Italians, but it can be daunting to visiting fans who set a premium on linear reasoning. In the parking lot vehicles follow patterns and jockey for places in a fashion few Americans can imagine.  It’s like a jolly bumper car game.  Then at ticket booths and entry gates, where one expects to see lines, Italians tend to form jostling arabesques.  That won’t be the case this year, however.  Italian authorities have banned spectators from the tournament because of Covid-19.   

 Once past the gates and onto the grounds, the crowd used to spread out and ogle not just the tennis, but the fashion show. It’s hard to say who is more elegantly dressed, the players or the spectators.  Often they wear the same outfits. Designer tennis clothes, in bold stripes or clinging pastels, are synonymous with Italy, and in no place are Fila, Ellesse, and Tacchini products better displayed than at the Foro Italico, where style, the creation of a bella figura, appears to be important to fans and players alike.

 Bordered by Viale delle Olimpiadi and Viale dei Gladiatori, the field courts are set in amphitheaters sunk below street level, and the torrid air that collects in these hollows is thick with pollen, women’s perfume, and the aroma of garlic and oregano from nearby restaurants.  Surrounding Campo Centrale, the main show court, loom massive white marble statues of athletes. Ironically, they are all—even the skier and the ice skater—naked, and after recent renovations added seats at the top of the stadium, the statues appear to be comically inverted Peeping Toms who, while nude themselves, gaze into the bleachers full of completely clothed people.

 On my first trip to the Foro Italico in the late 70s, an immense man with an even more immense voice stood up during change-overs and sang arias.  It was Luciano Pavarotti cheering on Adriano Panatta, then the Italian Number One.  But not all of Pavarotti’s countrymen are as artful at urging on their local heroes, and the history of the Italian Open has been marred by fans flinging seat cushions, soda cans and sandwiches.  On a few notable occasions players have retreated rather than suffer the outrages that the crowd and Italian officials sometimes commit in support of local players. In 1976, Harold Solomon defaulted in the semifinals after getting a string of flagrantly unfair calls. Two years later, José Higueras, a Spaniard with a reputation for impeccable manners, walked off when spectators started hurling insults and coins. A day later, when Adriano Panatta played Bjorn Borg, the Swede held an unassailable advantage. He was used to people throwing money at him. Promoters and advertisers had been doing it for years. When Italian fans slung coins at Borg, he coolly pocketed the loose change and beat Panatta.

 The outside courts lie at the bottom of an enormous oblong cavity styled on the lines of the Circo Massimo, Rome’s ancient chariot racecourse.  In years past,serious fans often remained standing on the walkway encircling the courts. This allowed them to shelterunder the umbrella pines that canopy the footpath. Up there in the shade the air is mild, while down on the courts, during long, hard-fought rallies, players shed rivulets of perspiration that speckle the clay with what looks like blood, calling to mindbullfights. Guillermo Villas, the Argentinian ace, once described the Italian Open in terms worthy of any matador facing death in the afternoon: “The sun is hot. The court is slow. The balls are heavy. It is not easy.”

 In what now seems like a former life fans werefree to retreat from matches and sip Campari and soda.  Inrestaurants on the grounds, they witnesseda different kind of entertainment. Say what you will about Italians and their frequent indifference to northern notions of efficiency, they can certainly choreograph a meal. If the food falls short of gourmet standards, the show is never less than world class. As in France, eating is a religious ritual, but it’s low church rather than high, closer to a fundamentalist revival than to a solemn benediction. Each course is heralded by loud hymns of praise or blame, the clatter of dropped cutlery and plates, the fast-forward ballet of white-jacketed waiters shouting “Momento!” or “Subito!” as they scurry between tables.

 By one of those screwy coincidences that abound in Rome, tennis at the Foro Italico during the 1980s could claim no better than second billing. On Viale delle Olimpiadi, in a gymnasium barricaded by sandbags and surrounded by armored personnel carriers, the Italian murder trial of the century took place over the course of three years.  While players bashed ground strokes back and forth, judges heard evidence against Red Brigades terrorists who kidnapped and assassinated Aldo Moro, the former prime minister. It was almost as if John Hinckley, President Reagan’s would-be assassin, were tried in a locker room at Flushing Meadow during the U.S. Open.  But in Rome nobody seemed to find this bizarre.

 In 2020, with Rafael Nadal vyingfor his tenth Italian Open title, at least one thingmight seem utterly predictable.  But in Rome one never knows when some surreal or sublime incident will upset the odds.  I’ll stay tuned on TV thousands of miles away, tensely following what will happen.

------------------------

 Michael Mewshaw’s three non-fiction books about tennis, Short Circuit, Ladies of the Court, and Ad In Ad Out are now available as e-books.

 cc



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Italrugby, raduno di Parma (4-9 settembre): l'intervista a Leonardo Ghiraldini

Italrugby, raduno di Parma (4-9 settembre): l'intervista a Leonardo Ghiraldini

11/09/2020, Italy, Rugby, Federation Italanio Rugby, Article # 30035567


FIR #insieme a Dove Men+Care: l'intervista a Luigi Troiani, Team manager #Italrugby

FIR #insieme a Dove Men+Care: l'intervista a Luigi Troiani, Team manager #Italrugby

10/09/2020, Italy, Rugby, Federation Italanio Rugby, Article # 30034130


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