World Cup failure sees Tavecchio quit as head of Italian FA, but board refuse to follow

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A week after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked as manager of the national team, the country's football federation chief has also stepped down

Carlo Tavecchio has resigned as the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) following Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup.

The 74-year-old confirmed his decision at a news conference following a meeting at the FIGC headquarters in Rome on Monday.

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It comes after Italy's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia.

It was reported the rest of the FIGC board had also agreed to step down, but Tavecchio claims they have refused to do so.

"I resigned as president and I asked the whole of the board to do the same. They didn't," he said.

"My target now is to manage the FIGC for the next 90 days before the elections."

Tavecchio also claimed it was not his decision to appoint Gian Piero Ventura as Italy head coach.

He says the 69-year-old, who left his post last Monday in the wake of the 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden, was the choice of former boss Marcello Lippi.

"They say 'Tavecchio chose Ventura'. That's not true. Lippi chose him," he said.

"Am I to blame for something? Yes: I should have changed coach last Monday at half-time."

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Speaking to reporters immediately after Monday's meeting, Tavecchio said he wanted to "apologise to all Italians", adding: "Now's the time for Italian football to embark on a new era."

He had initially appeared eager to stay on to oversee the appointment of Ventura's replacement, with Antonio Conte, Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti and Luciano Spalletti among those tipped to be Italy's top choices.

Tavecchio later denied reports that several leading candidates had refused to take the job while the Lombardy native remained at the FIGC helm.

"I spoke with four or five of the best Italian coaches; they can't be available before June," he said. "It's not true that they don't want to come as long as I'm president."

Italy's Olympic Committee president, Giovanni Malago, and Damiano Tommasi, head of the country's players' union, had both urged Tavecchio to resign in recent days despite him having only been re-elected for a second term in March.

"If we're out of the World Cup, it's because both the FIGC and clubs have gone too many years without thinking about a sporting project," Tommasi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

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Italy reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals but that proved to be the high point of their achievements in Tavecchio's controversial time in charge.

He was banned for six months by UEFA in October 2014 for making racist remarks during his election campaign.

Tavecchio, discussing foreign players joining Serie A, said: "In England, they select players based on professionalism, whereas we get 'Opti Poba', who before ate bananas and now he's first-choice for Lazio and that's okay."

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