Italian minister criticizes winter federations

ROME Tue Mar 2, 2010 5:24pm EST

Italy's Giuliano Razzoli reacts after crossing the finish line for the men's second run of Alpine Skiing Slalom race at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 27, 2010. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Italy's Giuliano Razzoli reacts after crossing the finish line for the men's second run of Alpine Skiing Slalom race at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 27, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

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ROME (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has blamed the winter sports federations for the country's disappointing performances at the Vancouver Olympics.

"I ask how it's possible to expect the athletes to concentrate on important objectives, free their minds of worries, when (in some cases) they are asked to pay the travel costs to training," Frattini told Tuesday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"And then, with financial sacrifices to make, they send federation executives to Vancouver with their wives. It's senseless."

Italy won five medals at the Winter Olympics, with Giuliano Razzoli taking their only gold in the men's slalom.

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