Martin Castrogiovanni. Fame

    So there is a case Castrogiovanni? For real Martin he wore the Italy shirt 119 times without having the right? Really one of the most iconic players in our rugby, one of the most distinguished internationally and perhaps the only true character who is recognized even by those who do not follow rugby in our country, has he built a career that he could not have built?

    The theme is important, and not so much for the consequences that such a truth would have. Twenty years have passed since “Castro” made his debut with Italy, 21 since he arrived in Calvisano brought by the never enough thanked Lino Maffi – we also owe Diego Dominguez to him, to name one -. There are no trophies to clear, no games to replay, no prizes to reassign. And there are also no fines to be imposed on Italy, logically, because after 20 years it is hoped that such a “fault” can be prescribed. Clarifying this story, however, counts a lot on a symbolic level. Because it is understandable that Spain can’t wait to get attached to a case so to say “you see, but for having played an ineligible athlete we were deprived of the World Cup, World Rugby sucks”, and it is also it is clear that a theme of this kind fascinates the whole oval world. Not only the Spanish blogs are writing about it but also the Argentine ones, Rugbypass wrote about it, a tweet was also done by the Guardian emphasizing that already in 2008 it had emerged that it was not the grandfather of Castrogiovanni who was born in Italy, but the great grandfather. In short, the whipping cream. The person concerned does not speak, and reading the interview published by Rugby Champagne from which the case was born, it is clear that he had no intention of causing this fuss. Fir does not issue official statements. Let’s try to clarify some points.

    • There “Reconstruction of Italian citizenship” it is the principle that allows a person born in Argentina to maintain the Italian citizenship of the first ascendant, that is of the first relative who emigrated from Italy, in the event that all descendants have not renounced it. This means that if your great-great-grandfather was born in Italy and moved to Argentina and he and his successors – great-grandfather, grandfather, son – have not renounced Italian citizenship, a person has the right to be considered Italian and therefore to obtain citizenship. and passport, obviously presenting the necessary paperwork. Speaking of Castrogiovanni, in the event that none of his relatives have renounced citizenship, he had and has the right to be Italian thanks to that great-grandfather, Angelo, who was born in Leonforte (not in Frankfurt, as Rugby Champagne writes), in the province of Enna, in 1893, as Castrogiovanni writes in his biography.
    • Would this lineage entitle Martin Castrogiovanni, today, to wear the blue jersey? According to reliable Fir sources, certainly not. World Rugby expressly asks that in order to be eligible, it must be the grandfather who was born in Italy at the most, not the great-grandfather. Even as an Italian citizen, even with a passport, Castrogiovanni would not be eligible today. It would have to pass for five years of continuous residence in Italy to become one.
    • Was this also true twenty years ago? We are not sure. We have been looking for answers to this question for two days but we have not found them. We are looking for the document of World Rugby – or rather of the International Rugby Football Board, that was then called – that for the 2001-02 season set the eligibility criteria for a national team. We have not found it or, rather, we have not found traces of a regulation that spoke of grandparents born in the country that we want to represent. If it exists, it will be found in the secretariats of the federations and World Rugby, there is no trace of it on the web. The idea that we got, in any case, is that the theme was not so topical at the time. Only in 2000 – a year earlier then – World Rugby had established the principle that a player could wear the jersey of only one national team. Some trace of a Board principle that fixed a birth principle and that stopped it from the generation of grandparents is found here and there, but it certainly wasn’t crystallized. And if it was, could have been part of that “gray area” of rules that still today allow a certain room for maneuver, for the interpretation of the regulations to those who are familiar with them and with the people who are responsible for them
    • It is also true that about fifteen years, in the mid-1980s, the first “natives” arrived in Italy. Among them also Manuel Ferrari. “He arrived in Milan in 1985. I played as a native, I had Italian citizenship through my great-grandfather, born in Varese Ligure. R.Odolfo Ambrosio was in the same situation as me, he came with an Italian passport and had his great-grandfather born in Italy, and he played for Italy“. So in Italy there was the habit of asserting the “reconstruction of citizenship”, of giving it a weight up to opening the doors of the national team.
    • C.astrogiovanni arrived in Calvisano in 2001. She had not yet turned 20. “At the beginning he played with the youth team – recalls Claudio Appiani, manager of the club at the time -, third center. Then we moved it pylon. As for the other boys who arrived from Argentina, we worked with the police headquarters for all the documents. There were no problems ”.
    • We have consulted Giancarlo Dondi, then federal president. “RI remember that at the time the International Board considered him fully in order. If you get it wrong, World Rugby will beat you up. We were very picky, there was a membership commission made up of 4-5 people including the secretary, everything was controlled. I was also part of the International Board and did not want to be exposed to bad figures. We had to be credible, you could not make mistakes of this kindAnd. And if we weren’t okay, the others would have noticed. And then we always moved with the authorization of the federation to which we belong. Castrogiovanni was certainly in compliance with the rules of the time ”.
    • Searching the archives of the Journalan article signed by Carlo Gobbi dated November 16, 2002, written on the eve of Italy-Argentina. Castro had made his blue debut just a few months earlier in New Zealand. It is one of the first times that he is mentioned in the newspaper, the first in which he talks about his grandfather: “My grandparents are Sicilian – these are the words of Castrogiovanni reported by Gobbi -. Angelo came to Argentina after the war. My father is called Umberto, my mother, Maria Ines is a kloker, of German origin. I feel Italian. Last August I decided to accept Calvisano’s offer. It was Lino Maffi who recommended me to the club, on the recommendation of Daniel Insurralde, who coached Lecco, now Rho ”. On 7 February 2009, in an interview with Luca Castaldini and published on Sportweek, Castrogiovanni said instead: “We are Italian thanks to great-grandfather Angel. He was from Ennto. He first opened a supermarket and then, working a lot like many other immigrants, he made some money. Not no José Maria, on the other hand, died in October 2006. And it was the saddest moment of my life ”. Two contrasting versions. Who knows Castro knows that the reconstruction of family events is not his strong point, but certainly that confusion between great-grandfather and grandfather does not help to clarify the matter?

    So what? And so we await the papers. Because it would take little to clarify how things stand. We need the rules of the International Board of the time, and on the other hand it would be important to understand on the basis of which documents the Fir requested and the International Board allowed Castrogiovanni to play for Italy. Silence certainly does not help, indeed it feeds an air of suspicion that certainly does not help Italian rugby. Only the papers will show that a Castrogiovanni case does not exist.