Derby of Shame: Farcical Italian game abandoned after just 22 minutes

Posted by Chris Wright

In what is already being branded the Derby della Vergogna (the Derby of Shame) by many in Italy, Sunday's Lega Pro Prima Divisione fixture between Salernitana and Nocerina quickly descended into farce and was abandoned entirely after just 22 minutes when the away side were reduced to just six men.

Going into the game, Nocerina's players had been subjected to multiple threats from their own fans and were unwilling to actually take to the field for fear of reprisal -- this being despite the fact that Nocerina's fans were already banned from entering the stadium.

Nocerina were eventually cajoled into playing by the Lega Pro representatives and the security staff present at the stadium, but not before they could come up with a cunning ruse to get the game over and done within the quickest possible time.

According to Football Italia, the Nocerina players had received multiple death threats from their own fans in the build-up to the game and initially refused to get off the team bus outside Salernitana's ground for fear of being attacked by the group of angry fans congregated outside the stadium -- causing the game to kick-off 40 minutes later than scheduled.

After the long delay, the game began with Nocerina making all three of their allotted substitutes within the first two minutes.

Subsequently five players limped off with 'injuries' and one more was red-carded for a scuffle over the course of the next 20 minutes and, seeing as though they had no substitutions left to replace any of them, Nocerina were forced to forfeit the match as rules state that a team must have at least seven players on the pitch for the game to continue.

The referee was left with no choice but to abandon the game as Nocerino's players immediately scuttled back into the safe confines of their dressing room.

In the aftermath of the 'Derby of Shame', the entire Nocerina board of directors resigned from their posts while the players have been ordered not to speak to the media, though the club's Director of Sport, Gigi Pavarese did attempt to excuse his team's performance against Salernitana, claiming that all the injuries suffered were genuine and sustained as a result of the players "going out there without warming up."

However, Lega Pro's Disciplinary Commission opened an investigation into the club's conduct immediately after the game, so we're guessing they're not ready to buy Signor Pavarese's excuse quite yet.


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