Eye on the ball

Editorial Staff
June 16, 2011

Calcio Storico Fiorentino can best be described as a combination of football, rugby and wrestling. For centuries, the city's four major districts have vied for dominance: the Azzurri represent Santa Croce; the Rossi, Santa Maria Novella; the Bianchi, Santo Spirito; and the Verdi, San Giovanni.


In recent years, however, the traditional competition has been marked by violence on and off the field and squabbling among the four teams, the Florence Questura and the city of Florence, which introduced a set of much-contested regulations in 2008.


Cancelled in 2006 for excessive violence, when 56 players were charged with aggravated assault before the match started, the tournament was also cancelled in 2007, played again in 2008 and 2009 according to the stricter rules introduced in 2008, which included limiting the eligibility of players through an age limit and strictures against those involved in legal proceedings. The teams protested the rules and forfeited in 2010, and the tournament was called off again last year.


For 2011, the city's newly modified rules (see Confessions of a former calciante) are not only said to better reflect the spirit of the game and prevent both forfeits and violent brawls but are also credited for the city's renewed enthusiasm for the tournament. Indeed, many believe 2011 will mark the grand return of Florence's historic Calcio Storico, which is scheduled to be broadcast on SKY for the first time, and will close the door on the controversy of recent years. 



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