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Pezzella will keep the DA13 armband

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“La fascia di Astori non se tocca.”

ACF Fiorentina v Udinese - Serie A
You’re goddamn right.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Reports from Florence indicate that Fiorentina president Mario Cognigni has, after meeting with Serie A leadership, obtained an exemption from the league’s recent rule banning customized captain’s armbands for the DA13 number that Viola captain Germán Pezzella has worn since taking over as captain. It’s a rare instance of common sense winning out in the Italian league.

It’s not surprising that the club was willing to fight for this; the players have spoken about how important the remembrance of Davide Astori is to them, with even the new signings discussing how they can still feel his presence. Stripping that away from a bunch of young men is simply wrong, no matter the motive, and it’s good to hear that Cognigni has talked some sense into the powers that be.

On the other hand, every other team in Serie A will now have to wear identical, league-issued armbands. Given all of the problems besetting calcio—whether it’s the widespread financial difficulties leading to the shuttering of historic clubs, the still-pervasive racism that nearly everyone ignores, the subpar refereeing, or any of the other problems you’d care to name—it’s pretty mind-boggling that Serie A leadership has set its sights on this.

While you can argue that yes, it makes sense to ensure that, say, Lazio doesn’t come out with some sort of fascist statement on the captain’s band, there’s no reason to limit players’ ability to express themselves. It makes for a more interesting spectacle, and it’s fun to see how guys manage to inject little bits of their personalities into even the uniformity of a team kit. At the very least, you can pour one out for the lovely armbands that Papu Gómez won’t ever get to wear now.