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Napoli hit back after reports of mafia links emerge in UK press

May 2, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-NAPOLI-BENITEZ Getty Images

Napoli have launched an attack on a UK newspaper after one of their columnists accused the Serie A club of being from a “mafia stronghold” in a recent transfer rumors article.

The Guardian newspaper is at the center of the storm as Napoli’s director of communications, Nicola Lombardo, released a note slamming the publication for depicting Neapolitans in a derogatory manner.

It all came about in a transfer rumor column which looked at the possibility of Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck joining Napoli and their former Premier League manager Rafael Benitez.

They have the scoop over at Soccerly, as the Italian club were hugely offended and demand an apology.

Napoli have hit back at Barry Glendenning and The Guardian after an article referencing Napoli to Italian mafia was published earlier today. Glendenning was writing about transfer rumours and had suggested that Napoli may be interested in Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck. However, in explaining to readers that Napoli may be trying to lure Welbeck to the San Paolo, he offended an entire city, and nation.

“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.” -Barry Glendenning

Napoli did not waste much time responding to the Glendenning’s comments, as an open letter written by the club’s director of communications, Nicola Lombardo, was released on the official Napoli website.

“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.” -Nicola Lombardo

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