Napoli enraged by The Guardian over Mafia link | inside World Soccer

Napoli have blasted Barry Glendenning and The Guardian over a story in its rumour mill which described their city as an Italian "Mafia stronghold".

Glendenning wrote a transfer round-up in the English newspaper on Thursday morning referring to a rumour Napoli are interested in signing Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck.

He wrote: "Napoli sporting director Riccardo Bigon has let Welbeck's agent know that Napoli are interested in signing up his client, but with Everton and Tottenham also interested, the club from one of Italy's Mafia strongholds will need to make Manchester United and Welbeck himself an offer they can't refuse."

Napoli did not waste much time responding to the Glendenning's comments, with the club's director press chief Nicola Lombardo writing a damning retort to The Guardian's sports editor Ian Prior.

An open letter released on Napoli's website read: "Dear Mr Prior,

"I am aware that it can happen that an article is not read carefully before being published. It is possible that as the editor of the Guardian's sports pages you may not have realised what was written. If not, we would be dismayed to read such a dated, dumb, vulgar cliche as this, linking the city of Naples to the Mafia.

"This is an archaic impression that is also rejected by English tourists who every year choose Italy - and Napoli - as their holiday destination.

"They would not do that if they thought that Naples is Italy's Mafia stronghold, a place where people fire at or rob each other in the street.

"We would not judge a city like Newcastle on the basis of MTV's Geordie Shore. We do not think all of that city's inhabitants are rude, gym-addicted and sociopathic. It is a shame to see The Guardian did not afford Napoli the same courtesy.

"I would still prefer to think that you had not read the article, and in this case, I would ask for a correction, in the name of both Neapolitans and Italians.

"Kind regards."

Meanwhile, a group of Napoli supporters, calling themselves the Movimento Neoborbonico, have started a petition to take legal action against The Guardian and Glendenning.

"There were false and offensive statements against the club Napoli, the city of Naples and the Neapolitans," the petition read.

"It is false and offensive to say Napoli is 'the club from one of Italy's Mafia strongholds.' We understand the bitterness that a Manchester United player could be sold to SSC Napoli, but we cannot justify gratuitous insults.

"Ancient enemy of England who contributed to the end of the glorious Reign of the Two Sicilies, Naples was and is one of the few cultural capitals in the world and Napoli one of the most prestigious clubs in the world.

"As Neapolitan citizens and as season ticket holders to Napoli, we are gathering signatures to proceed with our legal team to take action."

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