Napoli Football club -- which represents the city with the highest unemployment and some of the worst poverty in Italy -- recently paid out a world record 2,000 million lire (1.4 million pounds sterling) for a new player.
GV Naples Bay
LV City of Naples
GV Street scene PAN TO Tenement house (3 shots)
MV & SV PAN Rubbish and refuse bags in street (2 shots)
SV ZOOM OUT TO LV Children playing soccer in square
GV & MV Soccer match in progress
GV PAN & SV PAN Crowds outside Naples stadium (2 shots)
CU Flags and pennants being sold
GVs INTERIOR OF Stadium and crowd (2 shots)
GV PAN Napoli team attack .. Como goalkeeper saves as crowd applaud (3 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT Savoldi in Napoli team photo
SV PAN Savoldi dribbles past two players before losing ball
GVs & SVs People sitting outside houses in slums .. young mothers playing with their children (6 shots)
GV Savoldi scores goal from penalty kick
Initials CL/1626 CL/1700
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Napoli Football club -- which represents the city with the highest unemployment and some of the worst poverty in Italy -- recently paid out a world record 2,000 million lire (1.4 million pounds sterling) for a new player.
Even more surprisingly, the player -- 28-year-old Giuseppe Savoldi -- is no Johann Cruyff of P???le. He was merely a rather successful goal-getter for his former club Bologna, and has only once played for the national side.
The extraordinary amount for a player of Savoldi's level is only comprehensible in the light of the enormous importance of football in Italy ... by far the country's most popular sport.
The fans in Naples are fanatical.
It is a city where there are 240,000 unemployed, where the municipal council often does not have enough money to pay its employees, and where the filth in the teeming port's narrow streets make epidemics and ever present danger.
It was one of the centres of Italy's cholera outbreak two years ago and in June alone, this year, there were 108 cases of viral hepatitis.
But despite this, the Napoli Football Club was one of the few clubs that ended last season with a profit.
And the news that they had signed Savoldi--it broke during a dustmen's strike and the city's streets were piled with stinking refuse--caused wild excitement and within days season tickets worth 1,800 million lire (1.3 million pounds sterling) had been bought up.
The club then decided to suspend season ticket sales and give everyone a chance to see their new acquisition, although they probably could have sold every seat in the ground--which is being enlarged to take 92,000--in advance.
Naples municipal authorities see the purchase of Savoldi as an important social function--claiming it helps take the "population's mind off the problems of living in the city".
The population seem to agree. About 10.000 spectators are even attending Napoli's mid-week straining sessions.
But Napoli has been criticised over the huge transfer price. The influential newspaper La Stampa of Turin pointed out that Savoldi was worth more than eight times as much per kilogram as gold.
Most of the criticism centred on the contrast of the deal and the sordid conditions in which most Neapolitans live.
However, Napoli Chairman, Signor Corrado Ferlaino, curtly dismisses all criticism of the deal.
"The club has enough money in the coffers to pay out, and the fans deserve an exciting new player", he said.
"It is not up to me or the club to build the sewers, children's nurseries and hospitals which are needed. When Neapolitans pay taxes for soccer--that is tickets for the stadium--it is our duty to offer them what they want from soccer", he added.
SYNOPSIS: Beautiful Naples Bay provides the perfect contrast to the city from which it takes its name. Naples is a city with the highest unemployment rate and one of the worst poverty levels in Italy. It was one of the centres of Italy's cholera outbreak two years ago. and in June, this year, alone there were one-hundred-and-eight cases of viral hepatitis.
Naples is currently in the grip of a dustmen's strike. piles of stinking refuse litter the city.
The children have one dream of escape..football. To make it to the top and become one of the idolised Napoli Football Club players.
Football fans in Naples are fanatical. The Napoli Club was one of the few that ended last season showing a profit. The city's municipal authorities regard football as an important social function. They say it takes the "population's mind off the problems of living in the city".
When the Napoli team plays at home, the city takes on a carnival atmosphere. A black market for tickets flourishes. Crippled war veterans even get in on the act. They're allowed to take one person into each match with them for free. They sell that privilege for a high price.
About three-thousand people usually enter the stadium by the wall system. This involves a squad of building workers knocking a hole in the wall surrounding the ground the night before. They fill it with cardboard bricks and let their friends in the next day.
With this in mind, the club this year set a world transfer record when they bought twenty-eight-year-old Giuseppe Savoldi. He cost two-thousand-million lire, despite the fact that he is regarded as only a rather successful goal-getter. He came from the Bologna Club and has only represented his country once.
Savoldi was a sought after player in a country that has recently banned foreign imports. His acquisition caused wild excitement in Naples. Within days season tickets worth eighteen-hundred-million lire--almost the cost of the transfer fee--had been sold. Then the club decided to suspend season ticket sales and give everyone the chance of seeing their new player, in a new enlarged stadium that can take ninety-two-thousand people. The club has come under ??? for the huge cost of the transfer. As one newspaper pointed out, Savoldi is worth more than eight times as much per kilogram than gold. But club chairman, Signor Ferlaino dismisses such criticism.
"It is not up to me or the club to build the sewers, the children's nurseries and hospitals which are needed. When Neapolitans pay taxes for soccer--that is tickets for the stadium--it is our duty to offer them what they want from soccer", he said.