Football: Italian football federation chief steps down in wake of the Azzurri's World Cup failure

Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio (centre) resigned on Monday (Nov 20), a week after the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals.
Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio (centre) resigned on Monday (Nov 20), a week after the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals. PHOTO: AFP

ROME (REUTERS) - Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio resigned on Monday (Nov 20), a week after the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals.

President of the Italian referees association Marcello Nicchi told reporters that Tavecchio had quit during a meeting at FIGC headquarters in Rome.

Tavecchio, 74, had been under pressure to step down after a goalless draw at home to Sweden meant Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Coach Gian Piero Ventura was sacked last Wednesday (Nov 15).

In a television interview on Sunday (Nov 19), a tearful Tavecchio blamed Ventura for the World Cup fiasco.

"The debacle was technical, the coach made the wrong technical choices," he said.

Tavecchio was first elected to the FIGC post in August 2014 to replace Giancarlo Abete, who had resigned immediately after Italy were knocked out in the first round of the World Cup in Brazil.

He was re-elected as head of the federation in March when he said that he had restored Italy's credibility.

During the 2014 FIGC campaign, Tavecchio caused an outcry when he made a comment about a fictitious African player he named Opti Poba "eating bananas".

He was subsequently banned from holding any position with football's world governing body Fifa for six months while European body Uefa imposed a similar sanction.

The FIGC, however, cleared him of any wrongdoing.