On May 2, head coach of ACF Fiorentina, Delio Rossi, was fired within hours of attacking one of his players during a high-intensity Serie A match against Novara. It was an important match for the Viola, which was desperately looking for a win that would get keep the team from the relegation zone.
Charged emotions hit a peak in the first half when 20-year-old Serbian midfielder Adem Ljajic contested Rossi's substitution that pulled him out of the game. Ljajic heckled Rossi, applauding the coach ironically as he entered the dugout after the substitution. In an unexpected outburst of rage, Rossi slapped Ljajic several times, falling into the dugout. The two were separated immediately, but the violent outburst shocked the soccer world and made international headlines.
Club president Andrea Della Valle announced Rossi's firing in a post-game wrap-up: ‘It's the most painful decision of my career ... Rossi was provoked, but nothing justifies a reaction like that. It's a decision I had to make for his well-being. The images speak clearly.'
On May 4, Rossi, who has also been penalized with a three-month suspension from the Serie A by the Italian league, held a press conference in which he apologized publically and saluted the city and team: ‘I made a mistake and I'm paying for it,' he stated, adding that the ‘gesture was deplorable, but understandably human.' In his defense, he said, he was provoked by a ‘lack of respect' for his role, his team and his family.
In a statement on its website, the ACF Fiorentina announced, ‘The Club would like to thank the manager and his staff for the work done in these months of collaboration. Vincenzo Guerini will take charge of the team for the two remaining games of the season. ACF Fiorentina also informs that it ha[s] started disciplinary action against the player Adem Ljajic.'
Many Viola fans have sided with Rossi. According to the press, some diehard Viola fans applauded the coach after the slap and insulted Ljajic with racist chants during the home game at the Franchi stadium. As a result, the ACF Fiorentina was fined 20,000 USD by the Italian soccer league.
enice officials seem ready to approve a plan to restore the 400-year-old Rialto bridge. If deemed feasible, the project would be the first restorative effort in 30 years of the historic bridge on the Grand Canal.