sport

Abete re-elected in Italy

Giancarlo Abete has been re-elected as president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) with over 94 per cent of the vote.

The 62-year-old, who has been an outspoken critic of racist abuse and match-fixing, was the only candidate at a vote held during an assembly in Rome.

A statement on the FIGC's official website read: "With a percentage of 94.34, Giancarlo was re-elected president of the FIGC by first ballot during the federal assembly held today in Rome.

"The president has been in office since April 2, 2007 and will lead the FIGC over the next four years. Of the 288 eligible voters, 256 voted at the meeting with 5.66 per cent of forms being left blank."

Upon his re-election, Abete addressed the assembly to reconfirm his commitment to eliminating racism and corruption from the Italian game, while highlighting the recent achievements of Cesare Prandelli's national team.

Quoted in the Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: "We know there are still problems, we are not irresponsible, but football does not represent all that is wrong with Italy.

"We are fourth in the FIFA rankings, among the top eight European teams at Under-21 level and leading the world in futsal.

"We must accept criticism and be held accountable for our mistakes but we must also reject sweeping generalisations and the culture of defamation at all costs.

"Football receives a contribution of 64million euros from the state every year, money that we dedicate to amateur sport, youth activities and refereeing organisations.

"Professional clubs do not receive a penny but they do pay 900million euros in tax to the state.

"We must improve and so must the country but the way we work will not be influenced by powerful pressure groups. We must not make the mistake of blaming football for all of Italy's ills.

"We have held ourselves together through 20 months of match-fixing problems, and there are more to come."