Marcello Lippi backs Ancelotti, claims he did not hire Ventura for Italy
Marcello Lippi has rejected the claim by Giancarlo Tavecchio that he had chosen Gian Piero Ventura as Italy coach two years ago and, thus, contributed to his downfall as Italian FA (FIGC) president.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, where he announced his resignation as FIGC president, Tavecchio said that he is "being made to pay for a choice which I did not make" after Ventura failed to lead Italy to the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
Tavecchio confirmed a suggestion by Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago that the appointment of Ventura had been Lippi's idea, adding that now it was he who had to suffer the consequences.
Lippi, who was set to be appointed the FIGC's new technical director until a new rule was introduced forbidding relatives of football agents from working for the federation, had been asked to help seek a successor to Antonio Conte following Euro 2016. Lippi's son Davide is a registered agent in Italy and his appointment was therefore never confirmed.
"It seems to me, listening to Tavecchio today, that he doesn't have a very good memory," Lippi told Sky Sport Italia.
"What Malago said was correct apart from one thing -- I didn't pick the coach. I went for dinner at Malago's house with Tavecchio and I was offered the role of technical director for all the national teams. Actually, Tavecchio said it would maybe be better if I took care of the sides from under-21 down, but in the end we agreed it would be better to include all the national teams.
"I spoke with Ventura, [Vincenzo] Montella and [Gian Piero] Gasperini. I passed on my impressions from these talks, with the positives and negatives to each one, to Tavecchio. He said: 'who do we pick?' and I replied: 'you're the president, obviously you choose'. 'Okay then, we'll pick Ventura,' he said.
"Tavecchio says that I picked the coach, but it wasn't like that. Another thing Tavecchio forgets is that one year before I was appointed as technical director, a new statute was signed off that prevented relatives of agents from working in the federation. I wasn't going to sack my own son.
"I was technical director for a month because nobody had remembered, including Tavecchio, that they had signed off this new clause just one year before, not 10 years before. I'd even signed a pre-contractual agreement. Everything came out the day before my presentation, after which I never heard anything from anybody in the federation.
"I repeat: I did not pick any coach, I just passed on what I thought about the talks I had had. When Ventura was picked, nobody was against it."
Lippi, the manager of the China national team, is now not in a position to advise on the next coach of Italy, but he has nevertheless stated his preference as Carlo Ancelotti.
"Somebody like Ancelotti would need less advice, given his experience," he said. "They need people in the federation who know about football. I don't want to say that I would appoint him as coach, but Ancelotti would be the best of those currently available.
"I hope he will become [Italy coach]. He's the best around at the moment."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.