Calcio storico succumbs to anti-doping

Old tourament subject to new rules

Editorial Staff
June 1, 2006

‘A combination of football and wrestling’ is one way to describe Florence’s infamous historical soccer tournament known as Calcio Storico. The summertime matches see thousands of Florentines flock to Piazza Santa Croce to ogle over the often-violent episodes of traditionally dressed sport and neighbourhood rivalry. One of the best-loved summer events, Calcio Storico is a ‘must see’ even for those just passing through the city on a balmy June evening, if you can stomach the thrill.


New laws will soon regulate the 500-year-old festival, as the Municipality of Florence has recently annulled regulations in effect since 2001. The antidoping norms established by Coni, which monitors all athletic disciplines in Italy, will soon infl uence the historical tournament. A list of prohibited substances has been published in the Wada document which outlines universally recognised methods for controlling drug use among athletes.


Titta Meucci, president of Calcio Storico, describes this decision as a very important change. ‘Traditional football in costume is not your typical sport but it should not be considered a free-for-all where anything goes.’ Even Eugenio Gianni, Florentine Sports and Traditions Councillor, says he is ‘very satisfied’ with the new norms. ‘It was necessary to align ourselves to national standards and so we did. Precise rules should not be seen as a punishment. They provide security for Calcio Storico by making it less subject to controversy.’


Calcio Storico athletes are volunteers with no criminal record, representing four Florentine neighbourhoods. The Blues defend Santa Croce and the Greens support San Giovanni. Santo Spirito’s players are dressed in white and the Reds make waves for Santa Maria Novella. The four-way tournament is played this month as part of the festival honouring Florence’s patron saint, San Giovanni.


The final match will take place in Santa Croce on Sunday, June 24 and will include the two fi nalists of preceding games. On Sunday, June 11 the Blues will take on the Whites, while on June 18, the Reds and Greens will have their day. As tradition dictates, the matches will be preceded by a historic parade, including 530 people dressed to the nines in Renaissance garb. From Piazza Santa Maria Novella parade participants will make their way down Via de’ Bianchi, Via Rondelli, Tornabuoni, Via Strozzi, Piazza della Repubblica, Via degli Speziali, Calzaioli, Piazza della Signoria, Via della Ninna, Via de’Neri and finally arrive at Santa Croce.

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