Swiss-born prince wants control of club named after his ancestors after managers arrested in extortion probe
The grandson of Italy’s last king is seeking to take the throne of a historic Naples football club that was named in honour of the royals, in an effort to “keep it away” from the mafia.
Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia wants to buy Savoia, a club established in 1908 in Torre Annunziata, Naples, making it one of the oldest clubs in southern Italy.
The prince, a winner of the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing, says he wants to rescue the Serie D club from the Camorra mafia after four of its officials were arrested in October over alleged links to the criminal organisation as part of an extortion investigation. The club was allegedly forced to pay pizzo (protection money) totalling €130,000 to allow the team to participate in the Eccellenza championship for the Campania region.
“It’s a wound that is tearing me apart as it touches my sensitivity when I remember those heroic industrialists who founded the company in 1908, entrusting the team with my family’s historic coat of arms,” Prince Emanuele, 50, told Corriere dello Sport. “Seeing it now associated with the infamous Camorra is a cause of great concern and despair.”
The prince, a Juventus fan, presented his proposals for the club in Torre Annunziata on Wednesday. His dream is to “bring the club to Serie C” and develop a youth academy. He and three partners have created Casa Reale Holding in order to buy the club.
“We have requested all the documentation to evaluate the purchase of Savoia Calcio 1908 but our project is much broader, with a view to also focusing on the social field,” he said. “We are looking at an academy that would provide scholarships for young football talents and for boys in the district of Torre Annunziata and southern Italy in general.”
The prince is the grandson of King Umberto II, who had been on the throne for only 34 days when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in June 1946. Umberto and his male heirs were forced into exile.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Prince Emanuel set foot in Italy for the first time in 2002 when parliament scrapped a law banning the exiled royals from entering the country.
He won the celebrity dance show in 2009, and in 2013 he appeared in a TV advert for e-cigarettes, in which he claimed that using the devices would “bring you more sex”.
A subsequent business venture led to the prince selling pasta in the US from a food truck named The Prince of Venice. The descendants of Italy’s former royals use their titles even if they are not recognised by the Italian government.
In 2020, prince Emanuele announced the creation of a political movement called More Italy, a group that reportedly included the French former culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand. The aim was to “improve and secure Italy’s future”. It is unclear what became of the movement.


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