Facing the storm, silence. That is, at least for now, the official position that Casademont Zaragoza maintains in the face of the avalanche of headlines generated by the letter from the Italian ambassador to Spain, Buccino Grimaldi, to its president, Reynaldo Benito, to regret that the club signed an agreement of collaboration with the restaurant chain La Mafia sits at the table.
Club sources maintain that at no time have they received the letter or a copy of it, and add that at the moment they are not considering making statements or issuing a statement in this regard.
Even so, these same sources showed their surprise at the Italian legatee's complaints about a sponsorship agreement that was signed half a year ago in terms similar to the one that the restaurant company has signed with other clubs (a 10% discount for subscribers to the club at the franchise premises), and recalled that "there are video games or streets in Italy that are called Mafia".
These are words similar to those of the company itself, which responded to the ambassador today in an email sent to the Efe agency in which he stressed that "in Italy alone there are more than 400 company names in which the word mafia appears."
In their text, they explain that the name of the brand arose more than 20 years ago when two friends met while doing their military service and decided to start a hospitality business. At that time, they were given a book on Italian gastronomy entitled "The Mafia sits at the table", the same one they took for their business.
They also ensure that the company "has never politicized or trivialized with this name." "We have never been linked to politics or to any other issue other than enjoying Italian cuisine," they say.
Casademont Zaragoza and the restaurant chain announced in February of this year that they had reached a sponsorship agreement. At that time, a statement from the club highlighted that La Mafia sits at the table is “an Italian-Mediterranean restaurant brand” and a group “that has become a reference and faithful importer of Italian gastronomy in Spain.”
In his letter, the Italian ambassador, who took office on June 1, argues that the news of the collaboration "between an important Spanish basketball team" and said restaurant chain has "disturbed" him.
Grimaldi explains in the text that the Mafia "represents a criminal phenomenon" and that multiple resources are allocated to stop it from both the Italian government and the European Union, "organized crime being a serious threat to security, the legal economy and coexistence”, he details in the text.
For this reason, he believes that the name of the Spanish restaurant chain contributes to the "trivialisation of illegal activities and misdeeds committed by the mafia", and that, furthermore, they go against the "fundamental values of the European Union, such as the respect for human dignity and freedom.
It is not the first time that this brand in question has sparked controversy. Both the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO, based in Alicante) and the Court of the European Union have addressed the issue of the registration of The Mafia sits at the Table, and both have highlighted that this trademark is contrary to the public order and offensive, not only for the victims of this criminal organization and their families, but also for any person who, in the territory of the Union, is faced with said mark and has average thresholds of sensitivity and tolerance.
For the ambassador, the association of this brand with sport "as if it were something normal" is something that causes in any Italian "a feeling of discomfort", something that affects many more people "regardless of their nationality".