Giorgia Meloni blows the calcio and the cold / Foot & Politics / Italy /

While the legislative elections were held in Italy on Sunday, it was indeed Fratelli d’Italia, the far-right party led by Giorgia Meloni, which came out on top with no less than 26% of the vote. The ambitious 45-year-old Romaine, who has major phobias « the Islamization of Europe » as well as “LGBT lobbies” has already also used football to make a name for itself in the media.


“I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian, no one will take that away from me. » This Saturday, October 19, 2019 will go down in Italian history. In Rome, at the start of the autumn weekend, it is not the rimonta of Lazio against Atalanta – snatching a 3-3 draw after being down 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico – which will mark the spirits, but well the speech of Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right group Fratelli d’Italia . A speech full of determination from the politician who, that day, will gain enormously in popularity throughout the Boot. Three years have passed, and the one who places « God, Family and Party » above all is preparing to settle quietly as President of the Italian Council. Elections which also allowed two singular figures of Italian football, Claudio Lotito (Lazio) and Silvio Berlusconi, respectively presidents of the Lazio and Monza clubs, to become senators. And inevitably, in this story, the round ball is never very far?

Lazio or Roma: it would be a question of choosing

While the face of Giorgia Meloni has become omnipresent in the transalpine media landscape, a question comes up repeatedly on the lips of Italians: which football team does she support? The daily La Repubblica has even been the subject of an investigation, managing to fall back on some of her old blogs, dating from the 1990s and the beginning of 2000. Under the pseudonym Khy-ri, she claims her love for Lazio, expressing it with uppercase: “SEMPER FORZA LAZIO” . Like any supporter of the oldest club in the capital, in short, and who does not hesitate to sting the hereditary enemy. When a regular blogger named Mauri explains that « among the Italian teams involved in European competitions, only Roma can lose and are not up to the level » young Giorgia nods: “I absolutely agree with you, on every level. Only Roma can lose everything they have to lose. » The friend Maury will then reply to this message: “If you weren’t from Lazio, I would like you. »

“That I am a Roma fan is known to everyone and obviously my footballing faith does not allow me to wear a Lazio shirt. This means that out of solidarity, I will give this Lazio jersey to my mother, a supporter of the club. »

Giorgia Meloni would therefore be more Paolo Di Canio than Francesco Totti? In view of the proximity of the opinions lent to the supporters laziali and those she defends today on the political scene, it makes sense, but it’s not as simple as it seems. With age, Meloni abandoned his seedy blogs and let it be known that his heart leaned towards the other Roman club. Footix behavior? No matter, now she swears only for the triple Italian champion. In 2015, through a Facebook post, Berlusconi’s protege reacts to a newspaper article The world on the Lazio jersey which echoes (directly or indirectly, the choice is yours) the IIIe German Reich: “That I am a Roma fan is known to everyone and obviously my footballing faith does not allow me to wear a Lazio shirt. This means that out of solidarity, I will give this Lazio jersey to my mother, a supporter of the club. » For this nostalgic of Fascist and Mussolini Italy, no word on the reference to the Reich, of course.

Another feat of arms, four years earlier, when she was Italian Minister of Youth, Giorgia Meloni was to award the Italian Cup to the Lazio five-a-side football team. During the presentation of the trophy, she lets go of the players laziali : « You are the only Lazio I can support. » Finally, in 2017, a certain Francesco Totti decided to bow out. The native of Rome takes the opportunity to thank the Roman monument and subtly send it an invitation: “Francesco, thank you for what you have done for us all these years. But where are you going? Rome needs you, Italian sport needs you. » A call from the foot that the elegant Francesco will logically decline.

“We will establish scholarships for athletes in our country. How many Totti, Checchi, Abbagnale brothers have we lost because of these deviations? » Giorgia Meloni

Iceland fan, and not just for the clapping

If the boundaries between Biancocelesti and Giallorossi seems porous, the politician has all the same understood the capital importance within society of football and sport as a whole. “Professional football, in addition to being a kind of natural antidepressant, is an economic sector that generates wealth and distributes resources to other sports and to grassroots sport” she told the Corriere dello Sport in May 2020. Not without Manichaeism, the boss of Fratelli d’Italia wants to make sport a weapon against delinquency: “We will establish scholarships for athletes in our country. How many Totti, Checchi (world champion cross-country skier in 2006, editor’s note)of Abbagnale brothers (Olympic medal-winning rowers, Editor’s note) have we lost because of these deviations? »

To carry out this project, she wishes to draw inspiration from the Icelandic model: “Few people know that Iceland was, in the 1990s, the European nation with the highest rate of drug, alcohol and tobacco use among young people. In a few years, this nation managed to reverse the trend. How ? They simply decided to invest in youth, by establishing a kind of « right to sport ». Thus, Iceland has managed to train several generations of healthy and successful athletes. » With his program “Il Diritto allo Sport” (the right to sport, in VF) directly inspired by the country of Kolbeinn Sigþórsson, the « mama » 45-year-old Italian and Christian argues that investing in young people « means investing in the future, cultivating talent and fighting against drugs and deviance and thus developing a new generation of Italians full of values ​​that sport can transmit to them » .

No frills for Mancini

Last December, Giorgia Meloni paid tribute to Roberto Mancini by awarding him a mini-trophy to congratulate him and thank him for the exploits achieved by the Squadra during the last Euro. A bit embarrassed, the coach of the Nazionale agrees to receive this award and will even see himself singing the most beautiful anthem in the world with the leader of the far-right party at his side. Apart from this slight hug, « the football community always keeps its distance from the political world » as the Italian sociologist Pippo Russo points out: « No personality in Italian football has officially positioned themselves in favor of Giorgia Meloni, either to support her or to attack her. »

However, a file concerns them directly: the Italian Supercup. For the past two years, this has no longer taken place in Rome, or even in Italy, but in Saudi Arabia. A destination that could be less sunny from 2024, since it could be organized in Hungary. Viktor Orbán would be ready to break the bank to welcome the gratin of transalpine football and would have already transmitted a first proposal to Lega Calcio with negotiations which could become more fluid with Giorgia Meloni, very close to the Hungarian Prime Minister. Nevertheless, according to Pippo Russo, the political lever will not be activated: “I really don’t think Meloni will come to intervene in football. The relationship between football and politics in Italy is one of mutual opportunism. No political leader dares touch the interests of football. » At least, when said political leaders are not the same as those at the head of football clubs. And that’s another story.

By Tristan Pubert
Words by Pippo Russo collected by TP.
Illustrations: Midjourney.

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