Ciao Vincenzo, I’m calling you about the exclusion of Fantoni and Nunes from the national team for the 2010 European championships in Ostend: what is your opinion? I must admit I was surprised by the technical official’s choice.
As you know I have a profound friendship with Fulvio, but I’ll try to reply to your question as objectively as possible.
The Italian national team has four very strong pairs, and I’m convinced that we are favoured to win with any team formation. I don’t wish to give an opinion as to which couple is the strongest, apart from the world ranking which shows Fulvio and Claudio in first and third places. What bothers more or less everyone is the fact that no official justification was given for the exclusion of Claudio and Fulvio (no reason was published on the federation’s site).
Your doubts then are only about the method of the exclusion?
Not only that, I think there are other considerations. Given that we are talking about eight phenomena, there are pairs who are more or less used to playing together. In bridge the strength of a pair of players is not the mathematical sum of their individual values. Undeniably the pairs most used to each other are Lauria-Versace and Fantoni-Nunes who have played together for years and in addition in the past few years have won almost all Italian and European championships. Sementa-Duboin and above all Bocchi-Madala certainly are less used to each other and this fact should not be overlooked. It’s also for this reason that the exclusion of Claudio and Fulvio seems inopportune.
How did Fantoni and Nunes react to the convocation?
They certainly weren’t pleased! The convocation was made official in the latest Federal Counsel at which the technical official of the national team announced which pairs had been selected for the European championships, even though there had been rumours about this for some time. The sensation is that at the bottom of all this, is a lack of “feeling” between the technical official and the Fantoni-Nunes pair (which the technical official confirmed in a recent interview). It is however strange that the technical official of the national team is also the sponsor of the Lavazza team.
Do you believe there is a conflict of interest?
I don’t think there is a similar situation in bridge all over the world, or in any other sport! It’s as if President Sensi of the Rome Soccer Club were at the same time the person selecting members of the national team. Does it seem possible?
How did Francesco Angelini react? Will there be important repercussions? I have to tell you in advance that my question arises from the ever more insistent rumours of a clamorous split between the sponsor Angelini and Lauria-Versace.
I don’t think there is anything official but I confirm that these rumours about the separation were going around insistently at Salsomaggiore and therefore there is probably a basis of truth. How Angelini thinks about it is known by now. Our national team should come from a selection as in many other countries.
Many expected a strong reaction, knowing Francesco Angelini’s temperament.
We’ll see …
Could Fantoni and Nunes possibly abandon the Angelini team?
Why should they? There would be no reason to do so. In addition, Italy has only two important sponsors (Angelini and Lavazza). Do you think that Claudio and Fulvio can play on the Lavazza team?
Do you think the results of the Italian Open at Salsomaggiore were in some way spoiled or influenced by this situation?
I really don’t believe so. The Angelini Team and the Lavazza Team are both very strong, and I don’t think there is anything strange in the fact that after the Angelini team won five years in a row, this year the title went to the Lavazza team.
In the event Lauria-Versace leave the Angelini team, who would Francesco Angelini take on?
If the divorce takes place, as is being rumoured, I think Angelini will look for another pair and It’s not certain that this would be an Italian pair. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to take on a foreign pair.
Would you give me some names?
There are some very strong pairs around (for example, Poles and Norwegians), but … what are we doing, playing at “fantamercato”? Certainly it isn’t easy to replace a pair like Lauria and Versace, even searching abroad.
(n.b. Fantamercato is a virtual game whereby you can choose players to make up an ideal soccer team. )
by Laura Camponeschi, translated by Carol Sims