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Parma donate match proceeds to Mero family

Thursday 24th January 2002

Parma have confirmed they will donate the money received from the ticket sales at next week's rearranged Coppa Italia semi-final to the family of Vittorio Mero, the Brescia defender who tragically died in a car crash just hours before Wednesday's game.

Mero, who has left behind a wife and an 18-month old son, was suspended for Brescia's match at the Ennio Tardini, but was thought to be driving to the stadium to watch when his car was forced off the A4 motorway by a lorry.

The lorry driver did not stop after the accident, but has since been caught by police and is now is being held in custody in the Canton Mombello prison pending a trial.

Club officials attempted to keep the tragic news from the players before the match, but Brescia keeper Pavel Srnicek explained that it was obvious to everyone that something was wrong.

"We could tell that the supporters were unsettled and we quickly found out what had happened," said the Czech Republic star.

"It was the worst day of my life. I have lost a great friend and I am really struggling to come to terms with the fact that his life has been taken away at the age of 27.

"As soon as we found out, we went back into the dressing room. No one talked. All I could feel was the pain in me and the pain all around me. There was no way we could think about playing a game of football," he added.

Menawhile, the Brescia president Luigi Corioni insisted that postponing the game was the right thing to do.

"When the directors phoned me, I was hoping the stories weren't true," he recalled. "I just wanted to cry. It is true when people say that it is always the best people who die. He was a great guy and I want to thank the players for agreeing not to play," said Corioni.

On Wednesday evening, Brescia assistant coach Enrico Nicolini revealed he had lunched with Mero only hours before his death.

"The players who were not playing at Parma trained during the morning and then myself, Vittorio, Markus Schopp, Emanuele Filippini and Marek Kozminski all went to lunch," he said.

"We spoke a lot about Vittorio's future and about the chances he had to change teams next summer."

Mero, who was born in Vercelli, had been at Brescia since 1998, aside for a six-month loan deal with Serie B side Ternana in 2001.

A rugged defender, he began his career with Parma, before moving on to lower division sides Crevalcore and Ravenna.
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