Tavecchio quits a week after Italy's World Cup demise
Carlo Tavecchio today stepped down as president of the FIGC, the Italian soccer federation, having come under significant pressure over the past week following the national team's failure to qualify for the Fifa World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
Tavecchio resigned at a FIGC council meeting in Rome, where, according to reports in Italy, he called on all members of the council to quit. They all refused.
Tavecchio was due to serve until 2021, having been re-elected in March after defeating Andrea Abodi, the president of the second-tier Serie B.
Tavecchio was elected FIGC president in August 2014 despite courting controversy after allegedly calling African players "banana eaters" during an address to a summer assembly of Italy’s amateur leagues. He was subsequently handed a six-month ban by Uefa.
The 74-year-old replaced Giancarlo Abete in the role after Italy's disappointing performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they were knocked out in the group stage.
Late last week, in the wake of Italy’s 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat by Sweden, which saw them fail to reach the 2018 finals in Russia, Giovanni Malago, the president of CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, told Sky Italia: “I've spoken with Tavecchio and asked him what his intentions are... and he wanted to discuss with everybody how to proceed.
“Only he can assume responsibility, and there are no other solutions -- the decision is his. Personally, if I were in his position, I would resign.”
Tavecchio also came under pressure from RAI, the country’s public-service broadcaster, after rights to televise next year's World Cup were significantly devalued by Italy’s failure to qualify, which prompted the sacking of coach Gian Piero Ventura.
Director Gabriele Romagnoli told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “It's like sitting down at a table full of motivation, yet you find yourself sitting there with just a knife and fork, but no plates. I was looking forward to and counting on this World Cup for us to show all that we can do. This is an enormous blow.
“I am just very, very disappointed with the way this national team has been managed. There were so many signs that were ignored right back in the summer.
“It was accepted that we would go all the way [to the finals] with Ventura, who cannot take all the blame, but when you've been discredited by some of your key players, it's an ugly ending.”
In September, interested parties were invited to bid for the Italian media rights to the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups in a process being overseen by MP & Silva, the international sports rights agency.
Sky Italia, the Italian pay-television broadcaster, held live rights to all 64 matches at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while Rai retained rights to show 25 matches from each tournament.
Fifa brought in around €335 million (now $399 million) from the sale of Italian rights to the 2010 and 2014 tournaments and MP & Silva now faces an uphill task to generate more than that.