‘They torched our clubhouse’… but Sicilian rugby team won’t let mafia win

Feb 20, 2022 397

BY: Lorenzo Tondo

Gloria Mertoli’s shift is over when the first light of dawn shines on the goalposts of a rugby pitch in the Librino district of Catania, a stronghold of the Cosa Nostra, the feared Sicilian mafia. Since mobsters torched the clubhouse and team bus, she and other players on the women’s rugby team, Briganti Librino RUFC, have taken turns to stay after evening practice and guard the area overnight.

Since the club started working to take children – easy targets for mafia recruitment – off the streets of Librino, the clans have tried to put it out of business. “Librino is a complex neighbourhood,” Piero Mancuso, one of the founders of the Briganti, told the Observer. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy to work here. These criminal attacks risked destroying everything we had achieved in recent years. But if I look at what we have done so far, I can say that these attacks have made us stronger.”

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SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com

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