Livorno, currently rooted to the foot of Serie A, have come up with a novel explanation for their poor start to the season.

The club, or more specifically, team captain Cristiano Lucarelli, claim that there is a right-wing plot to oust them from Serie A.

Sunday’s 2-0 defeat by Sampdoria proved the final straw Lucarelli, who launched a vitriolic attack on referee Roberto Rosetti.

“Things are happening here that have little to do with football,” Lucarelli was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday.

“Livorno is no Real Madrid, that’s for sure, but in these first five matches we’ve shown we’re the equals of many top-level teams.

“The results, however, tell a different story. There are things going on right under everybody’s noses – this was something we feared (before the season began) as players, as fans and as a city.”

Lucarelli believes that it is the left-wing political affiliations of some of the club’s supporters which is influencing officials and undermining their Serie A campaign.

Lucarelli also pointed out that the four clubs relegated from Serie A last season shared left-wing sympathies.

“Last year there were four sets of fans in Serie A that displayed Che Guevara’s image: Modena, Perugia, Ancona and Empoli.

“Maybe it’s a coincidence, but these were the four teams that were relegated.”

Meanwhile, Adriano Galliani, President of the Italian Football League Adriano Galliani, dismissed the accusations,.

“I’d rather not comment – I’m too close to Berlusconi, but this is the most serious thing I’ve heard since being involved in football,” he said.

“As long as you talk about referees’ errors or psychological bias, fine. But here we’re getting into a political discussion. I just hope Lucarelli apologises.”