Zebre take action after Italian international prop arrested
Italian club Zebre have sacked their Italian international prop Sami Panico.
Panico was arrested following a raid on his home, Torvajanica, south of Rome.
Earlier this week Gazzetta Dello Sport reported that Italian police confiscated 1.5kg of marijuana, 330 grams of hashish and 10,000 euros ($11,621) which was found in the player’s back garden.
He is charged with possessing drugs for the purpose of sale or supply.
Panico (25), who is of Ethiopian descent who plays for Calvisano and was attached to Zebre rugby. He represented Italy on 10 occasions, the last of which was in 2017.
Zebre say the 10-times capped prop was in “unsuitable physical condition for the pre-season training”, but made no specific mention about his police arrest and subsequent charge.
He is due to appear in court on Monday on drugs possession charges.
In a statement the club said: “Zebre Rugby Club notifies that proceedings have been completed to terminate the contract with the player Sami Panico.
“This decision has been taken in keeping with the ethics and principles of the Franchise and the contractual arrangements, and of the Federation from which it depends, and follows the suspension of the player from the Zebre Rugby Club team notified on 8 September 2018.
“The player had arrived in an unsuitable physical condition for the pre-season training, and was subsequently unreachable and had ignored all formal reprimands from the Team, thus initiating formal proceedings for the final termination of the contract.
“Zebre Rugby Club, certain of interpreting the feelings of the Federation and Clubs that have contributed to the growth of the Player, wishes to express its disappointment at the events that have unfolded while being quite certain that everything has been done so that rugby could be an opportunity for Mr Panico to demonstrate personal and professional growth, allowing him to make full use of his talents.
“The club also wishes to confirm its commitment to all its registered players, both on and off the field, and will continue to support the players as people, not only as athletes, in view of their full and unconditional acceptance of the institutional and ethical values which are intrinsic in sport, and in particular rugby.
“Zebre Rugby Club will make no further comment
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As someone who is living with a family of Ukrainian refugees, whose home and male family members are being hit with missiles daily, I'm shocked you are calling professional rugby players refugees. My last company closed their doors thanks to an unpaid tax bill, I don't think that makes me a refugee, do you? They lost their jobs, as have hundreds of thousands thanks to the economy and COVID and have been fortunate to find work albeit the other side of the world. I'm pretty sure they are living a good life. We are not going to feel sorry for themGo to comments