ROME – The Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) fired on Wednesday coach Gian Piero Ventura after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio confirmed the dismissal of the 69-year-old Ventura after a meeting with the members of the federation in Rome.
“From today, Gian Piero Ventura is no longer the Coach of the Italian National Team,” Tavecchio said in a statement on the FIGC Web site.
Ventura, whose contract runs through June 2018, declined to resign despite the team’s historic failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, which will be the first since 1958 not to include Italy.
The coach received the news at his residence in the southern Italian city of Bari.
Though he sacked Ventura, Tavecchio declined to resign as FIGC president.
Instead of stepping down, according to the statement, Tavecchio told the FIGC that he would “assume the responsibility of presenting to the Federation Council a series of proposals” to improve the program.
After stumbling late in the qualifying rounds, Italy was forced into a playoff with Sweden to secure a berth in the World Cup. The Azzurri lost 1-0 in the first leg in Stockholm and were stymied 0-0 in Monday’s second leg in Milan.