Italy chief erred on new Astori contract

Fiorentina's Davide Astori, 31, who played 14 times for Italy, was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday. The club asked for "silence and respect" after Italy's football chief announced that Fiorentina had made "a lovely gesture" by extending the pl
Fiorentina's Davide Astori, 31, who played 14 times for Italy, was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday. The club asked for "silence and respect" after Italy's football chief announced that Fiorentina had made "a lovely gesture" by extending the player's contract.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ROME • Fiorentina called for respect and silence on Monday after Italy's football chief appeared to make a gaffe by erroneously declaring a contract extension had been posthumously granted to the club's late captain, Davide Astori.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago, who oversees the Italian top flight and international football, "spoke too soon," a source close to those concerned told AFP.

The source said Malago had perhaps given credence to a social media fake news story.

"Fiorentina are in a state of shock and we ask for silence and respect from all parties," a club statement said on Monday.

The statement came in reaction to an earlier release from Malago, who said: "Fiorentina have renewed Astori's contract. His salary will go to his family, his partner and his daughter.

"It's a lovely gesture from the Della Valle family (who run Fiorentina)."

On Sunday, the club revealed the player had been on the verge of extending his contract and the only thing missing was the signature.

Italy is still in shock after the sudden death on Sunday of the 31-year-old defender who played 14 times for his country.

All seven matches in Italy's Serie A on Sunday were postponed.

A judicial inquiry was launched after the player was found dead in his hotel room in Udine, where his team were due to play Udinese.

Antonio de Nicolo, a magistrate in Udine, was quoted on Sunday as saying Astori died of "natural causes" after a "cardiac circulatory collapse" - a type of heart attack.

An autopsy into the death was carried out yesterday while his funeral will be held in Florence tomorrow.

Fiorentina have since retired the No. 13 shirt worn by Astori, a move mirrored by the player's former club, Cagliari.

In England, The Guardian reported that N'Golo Kante missed Chelsea's Premier League visit to Manchester City on Sunday after fainting at the club's training ground on Friday.

The 26-year-old reportedly passed out after a training session at Cobham, and later underwent cardiology tests.

Despite being initially cleared to play, Kante felt unwell on Sunday morning and was left out of Antonio Conte's squad.

As first reported by The Telegraph, the French midfielder was attended to by team doctors seconds after slumping over in the dressing room. After regaining consciousness, Kante was sent to a specialist, who found no heart problems.

Fortunately for the 26-year-old, he has reportedly been given a clean bill of health by Chelsea, and is available to feature against Crystal Palace on Saturday, and in the Champions League last-16, second-leg tie in Barcelona next week.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2018, with the headline 'Italy chief erred on new Astori contract'. Print Edition | Subscribe