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Carlotta Ferlito’s Exclusion from Italy’s Serie A Meet Sparks Controversy

Carlotta Ferlito at the 2017 Assoluti. Photograph: Ginnastica Artistica Italiana Two days ago, Italy’s Olympian Carlotta Ferlito ann...

Carlotta Ferlito at the 2017 Assoluti. Photograph: Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

Two days ago, Italy’s Olympian Carlotta Ferlito announced on Instagram that, despite being competition ready, she is not  allowed to compete at the Eboli Serie A meet next weekend, because of bureaucratic issues concerning her registration to the competition.

The meet is particularly important, because it will most likely determine Italy’s official 2017 World championships team.

Ferlito wrote: ‘I would have liked to compete at the Eboli Serie A competition, where I would have tested my new routines for the World championships, but unfortunately they are not allowing me to compete. To all of you who would have liked to meet and support me there, I am very sorry, but it is a choice that does not depend on me.’

In the absence of an official statement, we can only hypothesise what happened. The background is quite simple. In order to compete in the Serie A, a gymnast needs to be part of a club team. Ferlito’s current club, the Centro Federale dell’Esercito (CFE), however, does not have one. Ferlito was then temporarily added to her former club, the GAL Lissone, to allow her to compete in the Serie A. Everything seemed sorted, until news emerged this week, that Ferlito’s permission to compete was rescinded.

No one knows exactly why. There could be a very simple explanation, for example a missed deadline or some obscure rule according to which a gymnast cannot be named to a club team half the way through the competition season. But the absence of an official statement has sparked controversy and rumours among Ferlito’s fans.

Ferlito’s fans started spreading the rumour, fueled by Ferlito herself, of a conspiracy to keep her out of the World championships team. One fan wrote on Twitter, for example, that ‘they like to win easily’. To whom Ferlito replied: ‘You’ve understood everything’.

Another fan wrote: ‘So sad, love, no Worlds… Why do they take it away from you?’

And another: ‘I’d say that it’s because he [Enrico Casella] was worried he had to choose you [for the World championships] over another gymnast, who I will not name because it annoys me too much’.

On Facebook, other fans blamed national team coordinator Enrico Casella for doing nothing about it. Casella, some fans said, should have intervened to allow Ferlito to compete as an individual, in order to test her routines for the World championships. It is fair to say, however, that the Serie A is a club competition independent of the national team, and had Casella put pressure on the system to have Ferlito compete, he could have been accused of favouritism or abuse of power.

Overall, as it is often the case, there is a lot of drama and social media fury surrounding Carlotta Ferlito. The bottom line, however, is that Ferlito will not compete in Eboli this weekend, and her chances to make the World championships team are very slim. Her first competition of the year, the Assoluti earlier this month, did not go well, and without further competitive experience this season, it is likely that her season ends here.

Article by Talitha Ilacqua

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