Non-League: Sicilian Amateur Player Stages Elaborate ‘Fake Helicopter Kidnapping’ During Final Match Before Retirement (Video)
Eschewing the usual 85th-minute substitution, a veteran footballer from Sicily went to great lengths to mark the last competitive game of his career.
According to Fox Sports Italia, Ignazio Barbagallo was making his final appearance for local side Citta Di Viagrande, who play in the third-tier of the Sicilian league.
To give everybody something to remember him by, Barbagallo organised a fake kidnapping to take place during the match against Nebrodi.
Sure enough, shortly after coming on for his last hurrah, a helicopter swooped down out of the sky from which a gang of masked men sprang to smuggle Barbagallo away…
Viagrande were hit with a €200 fine for the stunt and have been banned from playing again until the end of May for “causing the interruption of the game by pre-ordering and allowing the landing of a helicopter on the pitch compromising the safety of those present ” – which must surely be the first time that law has been upheld during a football match.
Barbagalla, who is apparently well known as a local prankster, has been suspended until next season for “leaving the pitch without the referee’s permission using an unauthorised helicopter”.
Given he flew off into retirement, we don’t suppose he cares much.