Soccer trumps rugby in Florence

September 9, 2009

It had long been decided that Italy’s rugby team would host world champions South Africa in Florence on Saturday Nov. 21.

Then soccer got in the way. Fiorentina, who use Florence’s only big stadium the Stadio Franchi, were due to play Parma at home on the 22nd but when they were drawn to play at home on Tuesday Nov. 24 against Olympique Lyon in the Champions League, the Parma game was moved to the 21st.

Suddenly there was a big problem and now the rugby match will take place in Udine instead despite tickets already having gone on sale.

Is this a case of soccer taking undue precedence over rugby or is it just a tale of ineptitude?

Even if Fiorentina’s game against Parma had been kept on the Sunday, that still would have meant two soccer matches and a rugby game on the same already-weathered pitch within four days.

Places such as England don’t have these problems because there are generally separate stadiums for rugby and soccer.

The Italians are used to such switches though. Quite often match dates are changed only a few days before or fans are told they can’t attend games for security reasons with little notice. La Dolce Vita, it is not.

PHOTO: Italy’s Sergio Parisse (C) runs into New Zealand’s defence during their rugby test match in Christchurch June 27, 2009. REUTERS/Simon Baker

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