x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Azzurri tracksuit a fitting reward for whistle-blower Farina

A call-up to Italy's national team for the Serie B footballer Farina is an admirable gesture from a national coach who patently believes honour has a value in the sport.

Cesare Prandelli realises the importance of honesty in the sport.
Cesare Prandelli realises the importance of honesty in the sport.

The Italian national team's next squad will include a new left-back. The position has seemed a bit of problem one for the Azzurri, although the call-up of Simone Farina ahead of next month's friendly against the USA will not solve it.

Farina is only a Serie B footballer, with Gubbio. He has been invited to join the Italy squad by Cesare Prandelli as a reward for his honesty, rather than his tackling, crossing or his pace. "We want to show how thankful we are to him," Prandelli said.

Farina, you see, is a whistle-blower. Just after the beginning of the season, he notified the police about a text message he had been sent by Alex Zamperini, a former teammate.

In it, Zamperini, acting on behalf of match-fixers, had offered €200,000 (Dh954,160) to Farina to share between himself and three other Gubbio players, if they would agree to let in a specified number of goals during a Coppa Italia match against Cesena.

Farina, 29, immediately rejected the chance to earn himself the equivalent of half a year's salary by notifying the authorities.

He insists he did nothing exceptional. But he and Prandelli know that other players – Atalanta's Italy international Cristiano Doni is currently serving a ban and was arrested again last month – have colluded with match-fixers.

Putting Farina in an Azzurri tracksuit may not discourage all future miscreants, but it is an admirable gesture from a national coach who patently believes honour has a value in the sport.