Gravina elected president of Italian soccer federation

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 file photo Gabriele Gravina speaks during a meeting to elect the new president of the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) in Rome. Gabriele Gravina was elected president of the Italian soccer federation on Monday Oct. 22, 2018 bringing to an end nearly a year of uncertainty. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)

ROME — Gabriele Gravina was elected president of the Italian soccer federation on Monday, bringing an end to a year of uncertainty.

The 65-year-old Gravina, a former Serie C president, was the only candidate and received 97.2 percent of the votes at an election assembly.

"Gabriele is one of you, someone who wants to change and relaunch Italian soccer," Gravina said. "We will change orientation and direction.

"The soccer that I want focuses on youth, but also on female soccer. I want a sustainable soccer, open to families, with modern and functioning infrastructure and a competitive national team."

The FIGC has been without a president since Carlo Tavecchio resigned in November after Italy's World Cup playoff loss to Sweden. Roberto Fabbricini was appointed emergency leader at the beginning of the year after a failed election to find a replacement.

"We will respond with facts, behavior and work. We need to know how to dream, plan and believe," Gravina said. "Soccer can't wait. It's now that we have to give our all, putting ideas in place that help our soccer. Our world can return to being magnificent. We have just come off the back of a year of signs of instability and fragmentations. That's not the soccer I want."

Gravina is also known in Italy for his spell as president of Castel di Sangro — a soccer team from a city of 5,000 inhabitants. During his time at the helm — 1984-96 — the team won five promotions and reached Serie B.

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