THREATS

Napoli warns it will ‘protect rights’ after players walk out on retreat

Gazzetta dello Sport and other Italian media said that the players went home following Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to Salzburg instead of to the hotel at Castel Volturno, north of Naples, where club management had ordered them to spend the week.

In Summary

•The club announces that, with reference to the behaviour of the players of its first team yesterday evening, it will proceed to protect its economic, financial, image and disciplinary rights in all competent offices — Napoli.

• The ‘ritiro’ is a standard response to poor performances at Italian clubs although critics say it is outdated and makes highly paid professional players look like misbehaving school children.

Napoli players applaud the fans after a recent match
Napoli players applaud the fans after a recent match 
Image: /REUTERS

Serie A club Napoli has told its players it will ‘protect its rights’ after they were alleged to have ignored orders and abandoned a week-long training retreat on Wednesday in what local media described as a mutiny.

Gazzetta dello Sport and other Italian media said that the players went home following Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to Salzburg instead of to the hotel at Castel Volturno, north of Naples, where club management had ordered them to spend the week.

“The club announces that, with reference to the behaviour of the players of its first team yesterday evening, it will proceed to protect its economic, financial, image and disciplinary rights in all competent offices,” said the statement.

It did not specify whether it meant that the players would face fines or even legal action. Napoli added that the decision about whether to continue with the retreat would lie with coach Carlo Ancelotti. A ‘media silence’ was also imposed.

The club’s flamboyant president Aurelio De Laurentiis ordered the ‘ritiro’ ­— where the team is confined to a hotel or sometimes the club’s own training base — following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by AS Roma which left Napoli seventh in Serie A.

De Laurentiis said it was for the team to get to know each other better rather than a punishment. The ‘ritiro’ is a standard response to poor performances at Italian clubs although critics say it is outdated and makes highly paid professional players look like misbehaving school children.