The Bloodiest Sport in the World
Calcio Fiorentino, or Calcio Storico, is an ancient form of football which is believed to have originated in the 16th century. This game, steeped in archaic tradition, has been termed the most violent sport in the world, and once you know how it works, it’s easy to see why.
Described as a combination of football, rugby and mixed martial arts, Calcio Fiorentino lost much its initial following in the late 17th century, but saw a modern revival in 1930 when it was sanctioned as a sport under the reign of the then Prime Minister. Even now, almost nine decades later, it’s still possible to experience the brutality of Calcio Fiorentino as three matches are played a year.
While waiting a whole year for only 3 matches to be played may seem like a long-haul, can you imagine the excitement of betting on this bloody game? You could bet on the obvious, being who will win, or you could even go as far as wagering on how many players will be injured during the course of the game. It could get very interesting, very quickly, as well as very rewarding and would be well featured for online betting NZ.
How to Play Calcio Fiorentino
Even though Calcio Fiorentino has been likened to a primitive form of football, there aren’t many similarities evident in the way the game is played. For one, it isn’t played on lush green grass, but rather on a sandy field measuring roughly 40 by 80 metres. The terrain is divided into two squares by a white line, with a net for goals running the width of each end. Secondly, there definitely aren’t as many rules as that of football.
During the 50 minute game, two teams of 27 players each literally fight it out to get the ball to the opposite side of the field and into the net. Players punch, kick, jab and wrestle each other to the ground, and there are no substitutions allowed for injured players or those removed from the match by the referee.
There are 15 designated forwards, or ‘Innanzi o Corridori’, whose sole purpose is to wreak havoc on the opposition “by any means necessary”. Once there are enough incapacitated team members, the other players will descend on the ball and attempt to score a goal.
By Any Means Necessary
While it may seem that aren’t many regulations to this MMA-style ‘football’ match, even the most brutal of sports has some rules. Athletes must adhere to a strict code of conduct, and if they do not abide, they are struck from the field. This of course weakens the team as there are no substitutions allowed, and of course the goal of the opposition is to injure players to such an extent that they are forced to leave the field.
Prohibited behaviours include kicking the head of other opponents, groin shots, and two or more players ganging up on one individual. Blindsiding your opponent from behind is also not allowed, and neither is biting. However, all other forms of violence are tolerated, and even encouraged.
Calcio Fiorentino in the Present
These days, thousands of people gather to be spectators at the three Calcio Fiorentino matches that are played annually in the 3rd week of June, with the final on 24 June. Four teams from the four neighbourhoods of the city gather to compete in this most bloody of tournaments, and there isn’t much in the way of monetary compensation. In fact, the winning team is treated to a free meal only, while historically the winners received a cow.