By Chris Wright
In what is already being labelled the “Derby della Vergogna” (the Derby of Shame), Sunday’s Lega Pro Prima Divisione (Italian third tier, the old ‘Serie C1’) game between Salernitana and Nocerina had to be abandoned with just 21 minutes on the clock after the away side were reduced to six men, which you probably don’t need us to tell you is one less than the minimum amount needed for the game to continue.
It has since been alleged that the Nocerina players had received numerous death threats from their own fans before the game, which itself began 40 minutes later as the Nocerina squad refused to get off their bus due to disturbances outside the ground (Nocerina’s fans were supposedly banned from attending the game, though it appears a few of them made the trip anyway).
Nocerina then used their three permitted substitutes in the first two minutes before five further players came off due to “injury” over the course of the next 20 or so minutes.
This, of course, left the team with six players on the field and no subs to bring on in order to replace their injured men, leaving the referee with no choice but to abandon the game in the 22nd minute.
According to Football Italia, reports in the Italian media are claiming that the Nocerina players did not want to play the game at all having had their lives threatened but were coerced into playing by Lega Pro representatives and the on-duty security staff at Salernitana’s ground – though it was at that point that Nocerina concocted their plan to get the hell of out Dodge as soon as possible.
The entire Nocerina board of directors have now resigned while the players have been ordered not to speak to the media, though the club’s director of sport has claimed that the early substitutions were completely kosher as the players all pulled muscles “because they went out there without warming up.”
Safe to say that the Lega Pro weren’t buying Nocerina’s excuse, with their Disciplinary Commission subsequently opening an investigation into the ‘Derby of Shame’ shortly thereafter.
Fun, fun, fun.