Italian town ‘cancels Oscar sponsorship’

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iol news pic Oscar bail day 2 10 AP Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands during a break in proceedings. Photo: AP

A town in Italy has cancelled its sponsorship of murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius, according to a report on Sunday.

Paolo Urbani, the mayor of the town Gemona, told Rapport newspaper that the town would not continue its five-year sponsorship signed in November.

“The contract with Oscar is suspended. We are not in a hurry to find a new ambassador,” said Urbani.

Pistorius was appointed ambassador of the town's sport programme in 2011, and received R170 000 a year, accommodation and expenses in exchange for training there for four months of every year.

The mayor said this was good marketing for the town, which had decided to upgrade its sport facilities in the hope of attracting international athletes in the European summer.

“It is important that Oscar knows we are not angry with him. We are also not judging him. He can only be judged by the law,” said Urbani.

The Italian town was mentioned in Pistorius' bail application, after the State quoted from an article in Sarie magazine in which he claimed to have been given a house there.

The State was arguing that he could be a flight risk if granted bail. Pistorius' lawyers denied that he owned a house in the town.

Gemona was at the epicentre of an earthquake in 1976, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale and killed 989 residents.

The mayor said Pistorius was the ideal candidate for the ambassadorship because he was the perfect example of “someone who was not sitting and waiting” for something to happen. “Our people also wanted to get up again,” said Urbani.

Pistorius is facing a murder charge after his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in his home in Pretoria on St Valentine's Day. - Sapa


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