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Leading Women's Football Team Folds After 'Mafia' Threats

Published: 28th December 2015 08:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th December 2015 08:29 AM   |  A+A-

One of Italy's top five-a-side women's football teams has announced it will disband after receiving a series of Mafia-style threats.

Sporting Locri, based in Locri, Reggio Calabria, a southern Italian province home to the powerful 'Ndrangheta Mafia, was in fourth place in Serie A, the top league in the country.

But now Ferdinando Armeni, the team's president, has decided the club must close after his tyres were slashed and a threat was made against his three-year-old child.

The threats began on December 7 when Mr Armeni noticed a note on this car, which read: "It is time to close this Sporting Locri. Leave!", Giovanni Primerano, the club's vice president, received the same message days later, prompting the pair to go to the police.

But the warnings continued to arrive. Two days before Christmas, Mr Armeni discovered his car tyres had been slashed and he had been left another note on his windscreen.

Finally, close to the car seat where his three-year-old normally sits, another note read: "Maybe you haven't yet understood that you must close Sporting Locri if you don't want trouble. We know who usually sits in this seat."

The day after Christmas, Mr Armeni announced that the club would disband.

The 'Ndrangheta is considered the most powerful crime syndicate in Italy, owing to the wealth it has amassed through importing cocaine.

Although the police have not discovered a direct link to the syndicate, Arturo Bova, president of the regional commission against the 'Ndrangheta, said local residents often fell victim to menacing threats by people who do not make themselves known.

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