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Miccoli stripped of honorary citizenship

July 2, 2013
By Ben Gladwell, Italy Correspondent

Fabrizio Miccoli not only found himself out of work on Monday, but his honorary citizenship of the Sicilian town of Corleone has also been revoked in the wake of comments the former Palermo striker made in detriment of deceased anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone.

Fabrizio Miccoli
GettyImagesFabrizio Miccoli has issued a public apology

Miccoli's contract with Palermo expired at the end of June, leaving the 34-year-old without a club for the 2013-14 season.

However, his remarks about the late judge, who was assassinated by the Corleone mafia in 1992 as he fought to overthrow them, have reduced his chances of finding a new club.

Although he has apologised for branding Falcone "mud", that is not enough for the mayor of Corleone, Leoluchina Savona, to pardon him.

"I felt he was a fellow citizen, a person who conveyed the legality and the real story of Corleone, which is not the one linked with mafia events in recent years," Savona said. "We are making great sacrifices to make Corleone the anti-mafia capital. We cannot allow ourselves to have Miccoli as an honorary citizen after knowing he had labelled Falcone 'mud'."

Miccoli held a press conference last week in which he made a public apology for the remarks, stressing that he does not have, or never did have, any links whatsoever with the mafia.

That may have been enough for Falcone's widow to pardon him, but not for Savona.

"I've heard that he has apologised, but he should never even have thought about saying those words in the first place," he told Italpress. "Giovanni Falcone is a hero and those words are unacceptable."

Miccoli, who was born in Lecce, Apulia, was made honorary citizen of Corleone in September 2009 after visiting a school in the town "to promote a clean sport, without violence, doping or drugs", according to the then mayor Nino Iannazzo.

The former Juventus, Fiorentina and Benfica forward is now expected to end his playing career after his six-year allegiance with Palermo, in which he scored 74 goals in 165 appearances, ended.