Napoli And FIGC At Loggerheads Over Luciano Spalletti’s Appointment As Italy Coach

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Napoli and the Italian Football Federation are locked in a fierce battle in what seems like a riveting clash of ideologies.

A conflict of ‘principle’ has arisen between Napoli and the Italian Football Federation, which may hinder Luciano Spalletti’s appointment as the new head coach for Italy.

What happened?

Roberto Mancini resigned over the weekend, leaving the Azzurri without a coach for the upcoming EURO 2024 qualifiers against North Macedonia and Ukraine in early September.

Roberto Mancini

Luciano Spalletti is the preferred candidate for the position, but Napoli are unwilling to release him from his contract without imposing the agreed €3m penalty, even though he is no longer actively working at the club.

According to several reports, Spalletti and Napoli reached an agreement that includes a release clause.

The clause stated that any team wishing to hire the 64-year-old coach before the end of his original contract with Napoli, which was set to expire in the summer of 2024, would be required to pay a fee. The fee is estimated to be €3m, as reported by La Gazzetta.

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Luciano Spalletti
Luciano Spalletti

However, it has been revealed that the amount decreases gradually by €250,000 per month.

The bone of contention now is that the FIGC have never paid a fee to appoint a new coach and has no intention of deviating from that tradition.

Why the FIGC may not pay a release clause to Napoli

According to La Gazzetta, if FIGC were to give a substantial fee to Napoli for a coach they do not currently have, it would raise concerns about the organization’s fairness and impartiality in its relationship with all clubs under its jurisdiction.

The FIGC may face budgetary restrictions that would pose challenges in allocating approximately €3m for hiring a new coach.

The situation has now been characterized as a “political obstacle,” and a solution has yet to be found.

Napoli and the FIGC locked at loggerheads

While Napoli are insisting that the release clause must be paid, the FIGC appears to be resolute in appointing Luciano Spalletti as the next coach of the Italian national team following Roberto Mancini’s unexpected resignation.

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Mancini had a contract that was set to expire in July 2026, but he announced on Sunday afternoon, August 13 that he would be departing from his position as the Azzurri coach.

With the EURO 2024 qualifiers scheduled for early September, there is now a sense of urgency for the Italian team to find a suitable replacement.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte and Fabio Grosso are being considered as potential candidates, but Spalletti has quickly emerged as the favorite.

And Journalist Alessandro Alciato reported that the deal has already been finalized between Spalletti and Italy.

However, Sky Sport Italia is taking a more cautious approach and has noted that the lawyers from FIGC are currently working on finding ways to activate the release clause in Spalletti’s contract.

While Napoli lawyer Mattia Grassani restated that the clause indeed covers both national teams and clubs.

However, the FIGC are currently attempting to identify a potential loophole in the contract.

The Italian Federation have no intention of paying a penalty to secure the coach they desire, particularly because he has already departed from his club side after winning the Scudetto.

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Luciano Spalletti
Luciano Spalletti

What’s likely to happen?

As it stands, none of the two parties is ready to compromise its stand.

Napoli President, Aurelio De Laurentiis issued a lengthy statement clarifying that his refusal was not solely based on the €3m, but rather on a matter of principle that he could not overlook.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the FIGC could easily cover a €3m penalty to hire Luciano Spalletti, considering the Federation’s current financial stability.

However, the FIGC maintain that it’s a matter of principle that the national team should not be required to pay a release clause for a coach.

Antonio Conte

The situation could potentially result in a deadlock, leading the FIGC to consider bringing back former Tottenham boss Antonio Conte instead.

What’s your take on the clash of principles between Napoli and the FIGC? Please, share your thoughts with us in the opinion box below.

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