Italy would be at World Cup if I'd paid Conte more - Tavecchio

The Chelsea boss quit after being refused a raise, and now the former head of football in Italy admits that he might have made a mistake

Former Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio thinks Italy would be at the World Cup if he had agreed to Antonio Conte's request for a €2.5 million pay rise.

Conte led an unfancied Italy side to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, eliminating defending champions Spain in the last-16 and drawing praise for his tactics.

The coach announced his intention to step down in the months leading up to the tournament, joining Chelsea following the campaign in France.

Gian Piero Ventura subsequently took the helm but failed to guide the Azzurri past Sweden in a play-off for a spot at Russia 2018, with Tavecchio standing down in the aftermath.

Asked what his greatest regret from his time at the FIGC helm was, Tavecchio told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I did not give Conte the extra €2.5m he wanted. I would have got it back with three friendlies.

"Antonio was on €4m and he asked for €6.5m. He would have stayed with the Azzurri and we would be in Russia today.

"But is it right to give what we were investing in the youth sector to just one man?"

Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 to win Group F in Russia, with defending champions Germany suffering a humiliating exit.

Article continues below

Tavecchio claims many have underestimated Janne Andersson's side, who will face Switzerland in the last 16 in St Petersburg on Tuesday.

He said: "They have given us a great excuse – too many have underestimated them.

"I've repeated it since the draw that it did not go well. They called me mad and said Greece would've been worse."

Next article:
Nainggolan could be set for lengthy absence according to Spalletti
Next article:
Emery accepts criticism over Ramsey contract situation
Next article:
Gattuso not blaming Donnarumma for derby defeat
Next article:
Guardiola: Versatility the key for Stones
Next article:
Hart a Man City legend, says Kompany