At one Italian club, the most significant shots are fired at the president’s car

When two bullets were fired at his Fiat 600 last month, Pino Morinello was in no doubt about the significance. As president of the Sicilian Serie C1 club Gela, Morinello had been waging a high-profile anti-mafia campaign. The shooting, he believed, was a warning.

Gela won their division Authentic Prada Bags For Cheap of Serie C2 – the Italian fourth tier – last season, and with it promotion, before almost disappearing in the summer because of financial problems. The mayor of the town, Rosario Crocetta, helped the club to survive by finding new investors – including Morinello, a transport entrepreneur. Constantly moving with bodyguards in town, Crocetta is very active in the battle against the mafia Bicester Village Prada Online and organised a campaign alongside the new directors.

This season Gela players have taken the field wearing a white T-shirt bearing the message „Io non pago il pizzo“ – I don’t pay protection money. Many businesses in Sicily make such forced payments to the mafia. The T-shirt initiative has been followed by all the visiting teams, including sleeping giants Napoli. „It was a very important gesture and a great message,“ said the mayor of Naples, Rosa Russo Iervolino. „Gela have a great tradition in their fight against the mafia and their Bicester Village Prada Store Number citizens are extremely brave.“

The gesture, however, was not appreciated by the local mafia, who decided it was time to warn Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag the president in their infamous style. „I felt like giving up everything and moving away from Sicily but then I decided to stay because it would have been a victory for the mafia,“ the Gela president admitted.

However, the news that made more noise in Italy in recent weeks concerned the inquiry into alleged match-fixing by the Messina forward Giuseppe Sculli. A former Juventus and Italy Under-21 player, Sculli is the grandson of a famous mafia boss, Giuseppe Morabito more info, who was captured in 2004 after being in hiding for 12 years. Italian police were monitoring and registering Sculli’s private phone conversations in their attempt to discover where his grandfather was hiding but they discovered much more than that. Before the last match-day of the 2001-02 Serie B season Sculli – then playing for Crotone – was overheard in several conversations apparently agreeing to receive Bicester Village Prada Store Number money from Messina – his current club – in order to lose the game and help their opponents to avoid relegation.

Sculli strangely scored in the first half of that game but explained why in a telephone conversation with his cousin, reproduced in the weekly news magazine Espresso. „Our president wanted all the money for himself but I told him that we had to share the bread in equal parts. So I scored and scared everyone to death. At half-time they were all mad with me. They even told me that I was not a man of honour. Finally they understood they had to pay me if they want to win. And they did it.“

Alongside Sculli, the football club Cosenza and Crotone’s president Raffaele Vrenna are also under investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Vrenna has insisted that he and the club are innocent. No action is being taken against Messina, whose leadership has since changed.

The situation in the south of Italy, however, is even more complicated – Authentic Prada Handbags Uk particularly when it comes to amateur football. The anti-mafia prosecutor’s office started an investigation into the matter in 2003 in Calabria, the region occupying the toe of the Italian boot where the local mafia is known as the ‚Ndrangheta

„We realised that the ‚Ndrangheta have a particular attention in amateur football in this area,“ said the public prosecutor Vincenzo Macri. „It’s not really for making business but more for having the support of the citizens.“

Association with the local team can boost a mafia boss’s Authentic Prada Messenger Bag For Sale prestige. There is a long list of club directors arrested for mafia association or killed in the mafia war. Don Pino Demasi, Authentic Prada Handbag Uk a priest representing the Libera organisation – which is opposed to the mafia in Calabria – told the Italian daily La Repubblica: „Many presidents Bicester Village Prada Refund of football clubs are mafia Authentic Prada Leather Handbag bosses. They know that sooner or later many young footballers will end up working for them.“

The president of the Calabrian section of the Italian FA, Antonio Cosentino, denied this accusation: „There are 536 clubs in the region and all the directors have to declare that they never had problems with justice if they want the licence.“

A few anecdotes, however, help to understand the situation in Calabria. In 1995, 800 children aged between six and 14 played a football tournament in Reggio Calabria named in memory of Fortunato Maurizio Audino. Audino, a convicted drug dealer suspected of being a mafia boss, was killed by a car bomb. In 2004 Paolo Zimmaro, a 20-year-old referee, was suspended by the Italian FA after ordering a one-minute silence before the game between Strongoli and Isola Capo Rizzuto because he had been told that the cousin of the Capo Rizzuto president had died. He did not know that the man in question was Carmine Arena, killed with a bazooka in a war between mafia families. A few years earlier the Locri football club also mourned the death of a famous ‚Ndrangheta boss, Cosimo Cordi.

In this kind of environment, Gela’s battle seems an uphill struggle.