NEW England manager Fabio Capello fell to the ground clutching his face while signing his contract today, claiming he was attacked by FA chief executive Brian Barwick.
Capello had just stood up after adding his signature to the £6.5 million a year deal when the FA boss lunged at him with his hands outstretched, witnesses said.
The chief executive grabbed Capello by his right hand and started shaking it vigorously at which point the Italian fell to the ground, writhing in agony, later claiming Barwick had punched him repeatedly in the face.
Luca Tomi, chief reporter with Italy’s Gazetto dello Sport, said Capello spent 20 minutes writhing on the floor after the assault, which he described as ‘sickening’.
Football pundit Alan Hansen said Capello had made the most of the incident but that Barwick had shown ‘incredible naivety’ in manhandling the Italian in such a key area.
He said: “There was no need to touch him. Capello was going nowhere and all he had to do was steer him towards the drinks cabinet and the danger’s over.”
Meanwhile it has emerged that Capello is to add the former Juventus striker Marco Battuto to his growing backroom staff as diving coach.
Capello thinks that many of his new England stars are accomplished cheaters in the Premier League but seem unable to con referees at international level.
Battuto said: “Look at Gerrard – he is probably the finest diver in England today but did you see him go down against Andorra? My daughter is more convincing cheat, and she is two.”