Rome - Italy's Rugby World Cup preparations got off on the wrong foot on
Monday after a row broke out between players and the federation (FIR)
after its president allegedly refused to meet players and cancelled a
scheduled training camp.
Reports earlier initially claimed players
had refused to attend the scheduled June 14-July 3 training camp in the
northern town of Villabassa until certain conditions relating to pay
and bonuses at the World Cup in England later this year were met.
Italian internationals reportedly want a match-by-match bonus for the
September 18-October 31 World Cup in England instead of a one-off
payment linked to their performances, as desired by the federation.
FIR subsequently released a statement saying it had "taken note" of the
players' decision "to neither take part in training nor wear federation
kit before a financial agreement is found over participation in summer
training and the World Cup".
However a statement by GIRA, the
Italian rugby players' association, called the FIR's depiction of events
on Sunday and Monday morning as "staggering".
It claimed the FIR wrongly claimed the players had refused to attend the training camp and had also sent the players home.
"These are staggering claims by the FIR," said a GIRA statement.
the players turned up for the training camp and will remain at the
camp. The truth is this: the players demanded a meeting this morning
with president (Alfredo) Gavazzi, who declined due to personal
"Given the overall situation, the FIR hierarchy
announced the dissolution of the training camp and invited the players
Forty players had gathered for the camp, although
captain Sergio Parisse and veteran prop Martin Castrogiovanni were both
absent after their Top 14 efforts with Stade Francais and Toulon
The GIRA statement claimed Italy's players
"disagreed on the other issues, not just monetary", still being
discussed with the FIR and that the current situation had left the team
feeling "pessimistic" over their chances in England this autumn.
added: "All that Parisse & Co. want is the reopening of talks and a
meeting, in person, with the president, who seems to have more pressing
In sarcastic tones, it continued: "So sending
everyone is a nice way of dealing with the problem. Even better was the
standard of today's federation press release."
Italy, coached by
Frenchman Jacques Brunel, have further training camps in L'Aquila (July
12-25) and then Fiuggi, near Rome (August 2-9).
Italy warm up for
the World Cup with Tests against Scotland (August 22 and August 29) in Turin
and Edinburgh respectively, and against Wales (September 5) in Cardiff.
Come September 18, the Italians are in Pool D alongside France, Ireland, Canada and Romania.