Carlo Tavecchio resigns as Italian Football Federation president

Carlo Tavecchio has resigned as president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the governing body has announced.

Tavecchio read his farewell speech during a federal council meeting in Rome on Monday, seven days after the Azzurri lost their World Cup play-off 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden to miss out on the competition for the first time since 1958.

Quoted in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tavecchio said: “Lots of good things have been done over the last three years, but now there must be a fresh election inside the next 90 days.”

The 74-year-old becomes the second high-profile departure from the federation in the past week, following the sacking of head coach Giampiero Ventura last Wednesday.

“I’ve never said this before because details of private meetings aren’t made public – yet now you must know that Ventura wasn’t selected by me alone,” Tavecchio added. “But now I must pay for Ventura.

“If I’m hopeless because I didn’t assure us of qualification for the World Cup then if that shot had gone in (Matteo Darmian hit a post against Sweden at San Siro), would I be a hero?”

Tavecchio was re-elected for a second term in March, despite a controversial first stint in office. 

He was initially elected in 2014 despite a campaign marred by six-month bans from both FIFA and UEFA for allegedly making racist comments about a hypothetical African player “who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio”. 

Once in charge, he was forced to deny being homophobic or anti-Semitic after comments which appeared in an audio recording on the website of Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in late 2015.

Tavecchio on Sunday suggested Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who led his country for two years before leaving for Stamford Bridge after Euro 2016, would be his preferred choice to replace Ventura.

“We are seeking the best,” Tavecchio was quoted as saying on gazzetta.it.

“(Massimiliano) Allegri, (Roberto) Mancini, (Carlo) Ancelotti… these are the names, I say getting warmer. And Conte? Fire.”

Returning to the subject during his resignation speech on Monday, he added: “I have spoken with four or five great coaches. They are all busy elsewhere.”

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