WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The head of the Italian football federation says Cagliari President Massimo Cellino will be punished after his actions forced Cagliari's home match against Roma on Sunday to be postponed.
The match was called off early Sunday after the Sardinian club defied orders to play the Serie A match in an empty stadium.
"Massimo Cellino's behavior is unacceptable and damages the image of the whole of Italian football," FICG President Giancarlo Abete said from Warsaw. "What started almost as a joke, with Cellino saying he had four stadiums at his disposal, ended like this. It's incredible, unacceptable and disturbing; besides anything else, certain behavior in Serie A has far-reaching effects. Cellino represents the League on the federal board, I believe that the higher up you are the more responsibility you have to assume.
"All this will certainly be punished, but the league has to learn a lesson from it and take the cue to improve the behavior of its leaders."
Cagliari's new Is Arenas has yet to pass security tests and local authorities ruled that the match would take place without supporters.
However, Cellino urged fans to ignore the authorities, posting a statement on the club website calling for fans to attend peacefully, regardless of the ruling. His actions led to the Cagliari municipal government ordering the game to be postponed on Sunday, following a late-night meeting.
Roma has said it will lodge a complaint with the relevant sporting authorities.
"Dear Abete, it's not me who is the embarrassment of football," Cellino responded. "In 21 years I have never been investigated for crimes involving passports, referees, doping or club balances. For the others, however, the facts speak for themselves.
"I'm only defending the Sardinians."