Cesare Prandelli’s debut as Italy’s new Coach has been thrown into doubt amid confusion over the game’s intended venue, Craven Cottage.
Despite the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announcing La Nazionale will play Ivory Coast in London, and it being widely assumed to be at Fulham FC’s ground on August 10, Football Italiano can exclusively reveal the Premier League club have denied any such plans are in place. A spokesman from the club’s Press Office confirmed the club is adamant no such event is taking place, adding further embarrassment for the Italian FA after initial reports suggested they were struggling to organise an opponent for the game. When asked to confirm that the Italy-Ivory Coast game would be held at last season’s Europa League runner-up’s ground, the spokesman replied: “Definitely not.”
After the debacle that has been the South Africa World Cup, the Azzurri is hoping for a fresh start and a new direction under the guidance of the ex-Fiorentina tactician. The announcement of his inaugural game in charge came as a surprise when the it was revealed to be held outside the peninsula.
Whilst it can be assumed the match will still take place, the location remains shrouded in mystery. This will not go down well with fans, still licking their wounds after the summer’s experience. The FIGC is hardly endearing itself to its football faithful and this current situation can only make matters more strained. Calls in the Press for the head of FIGC Giancarlo Abete to resign were voiced, before unanimous support from the FIGC’s other members. However, whilst the organisation aims to start a new chapter in the national team’s history, the potential embarrassment this issue could cause could not have come at a worse time.
Update 1: The Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) has exclusively confirmed with Football Italiano that the game will now not be held at Craven Cottage and will be making an announcement on their official website once they have full details.
With around a month to go before the friendly is scheduled to be played, the FIGC has yet to finalise a date, a venue and potentially even their opponent for the start of the new Prandelli era. Their response also neither confirmed or denied that the friendly was still on or not.
Update 2:The FIGC have announced the confirmed venue for the friendly against Ivory Coast to be held on August 10 as West Ham United’s Upton Park.