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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

President Series: Gian Chiaron Casoni

Source Wikipedia

All Lazio fans have to be grateful to Gian Chiaron Casoni. He was linked to the Lazio world from birth, was a true Laziale and was often called to solve desperate financial situations during the course of the club’s history.

Born in Venice on September 11, 1932, he was the son of Giorgio Chiaron Casoni, a prominent board member from the 1940s to the 1960s. From his dad he inherited the passion for the Biancocelesti and at the very young age of 33 he was nominated Special Commissioner in a period of serious financial trouble. He managed to avoid bankruptcy by convincing the players not to take the club to court and to postpone payment of some of the wages. This paved the way for the Presidency of Umberto Lenzini and the end of a long financial crisis which had started with the death of Remo Zenobi in 1953.

When Lenzini took over he stayed at the club and held some important positions. He was the one who signed the contracts in Milan for the signing of Pino Wilson and Giorgio Chinaglia in 1969.

After the calcio scommesse and Lazio’s relegation, Umberto Lenzini left the presidency which was taken over by his brother Aldo. In terrible financial trouble, Aldo kept the club afloat for a year in which Lazio missed out on promotion to Serie A due to a missed penalty in the second from last game. On July 23, 1981, Gian Casoni was nominated President and on October 9, the 53% of the shares held by the Lenzini family passed to an investment company owned mainly by Casoni, Filippo Galli and Mario Apuzzo.

With very limited financial resources, Casoni was able to benefit from the return to football of Bruno Giordano and Lionello Manfredonia after their three-and-a-half-year ban was cut following Italy’s victorious 1982 World Cup triumph. Lazio managed to return to Serie A after three painful years.

Source Lazio Wiki

Towards the end of the 1982-83 season rumours started coming from overseas that Giorgio Chinaglia, the scudetto hero who had made a fortune in the US as an entrepreneur and centre forward for New York Cosmos, wanted to buy the club. Blinded, like many of us, by the promises of large financial resources, Casoni sold his shares to Chinaglia who took over the club and presidency.

He stayed around however, always available if needed. When Sergio Cragnotti’s empire collapsed in 2004, Lazio were in deep financial trouble and risked not having the money to play in Serie A. He therefore created “Lazionista” convincing many supporters to buy shares. This allowed an inflow of one-and-a-half million euros cash which saved the participation in Serie A.

Casoni also founded Lazio Volleyball in 1951 and of which he was President many a time. He was also President of Lazio Handball from 1992 to 1996. In his first year the Biancocelesti almost won the scudetto.

Casoni was a Gentleman with a capital G, a man of great class, educated and cultured, an excellent manager, never a word out of place, always very positive. And first and foremost, he was a Laziale.

He died in Rome on January 30, 2007.



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