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Serie A president resigns over election investigation days before league TV channel vote

Gaetano Miccichè, the president of Italy’s top football league, Lega Serie A, resigned yesterday (Tuesday) after a month-long investigation into the circumstances surrounding his election on March 19 last year.

The election had been under investigation by the national football association, the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC). The FIGC had completed its investigation and the results were expected to be made public in the coming days.

Miccichè said reports which appeared yesterday in the Italian press regarding the completion of the investigation had made his position untenable and had “imposed” the decision to resign on him.

The resignation has pre-empted any action by the FIGC which might have required Miccichè to step down, effectively sacking him.

Because Miccichè holds other institutional roles – has is also the president of banking group Banca Imi – his election required a unanimous vote by the 20 league clubs instead of the usual two-thirds majority. The unanimous vote was considered necessary because of potential conflicts of interest, due to prior business relationships between Banca Imi and some of the clubs and their presidents.

The unanimous vote appeared to have been achieved. However, it has been alleged that the acting league commissioner at the time, Giovanni Malagò, currently president of the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni), asked the clubs to appoint Miccichè by ‘acclamation’, without proper scrutiny of the votes cast in the secret ballot.

The FIGC’s investigative arm is reported to have been alerted to possible irregularities in the procedure by Enrico Preziosi, the president of Serie A club Genoa.

Miccichè said he had worked hard since his election to transform Italian football, giving it greater credibility, helping to attract new investors and sponsors and to bring families back to “the world of football and sport in general”.

Several newspaper reports said Miccichè considered himself to have been the victim of political manoeuvrings in football club circles.

The FIGC president Gabriele Gravina will now have to decide how to proceed with the findings of the investigation. Despite the resignation, reports say, he may still decide to formally annul Miccichè’s election. In the short-term, it is likely that another acting commissioner will be appointed.

League chief executive Luigi De Siervo will continue to oversee the day-to-day running of the league, beginning with a league assembly on Monday, November 25.

The assembly is expected to take a final decision on the offer by the Mediapro agency to create a league television channel from the 2021-22 season. It is also due to approve the guidelines for the next round of media-rights sales which must be submitted to the country’s antitrust regulator (AGCM) and communications authority (AGCOM).

Yesterday, the league said there would be a further assembly on December 2 to deal with the vacant presidency.