Press ENTER pto search or ESC to exit



Parma, Sept. 15, 2022 - A club that consolidates the foundations of its identity and strengthens the foundations of its growth. The technical and corporate project of Zebre Parma takes another important step forward with the appointment of Franco Tonni as Sports Director of the federal franchise.
A strategic decision, taken in agreement with the Italian Rugby Federation, as a programmatic point of the new corporate governance launched last April with the appointment of the club's new sole director Michele Dalai.

Sports Director Franco Tonni, who joined the Italian management staff in April 2021 as a director and board member, officially assumes the delegation of the team's sports’ direction. In addition to participating in strategic planning and alignment meetings with the FIR High Level, Tonni has already begun the task of recruiting human resources aimed at strengthening and enhancing the roster and technical staff of the new Zebre Parma project.

Statements from Zebre Parma Sports Director Franco Tonni: "Arriving at Zebre I found a team that was not very balanced, with an average age of 29 and a standard that the tournament itself deemed unsuitable. We made choices, some painful, all necessary, that I think will help us gain credibility and attention. My goal is to create in Parma a club firmly anchored in the federal context with a marked identity useful for raising the desire for competitiveness on and off the field. I have found a potential and favorable working environment that I share on a daily basis with professionals convinced of the course set. The team group presents itself to this 2022/23 season with an average age of 24 and an appealing future as well as the technical and medical sectors, both enriched in these days by newcomers. The FIR and President Marzio Innocenti have bestowed so much trust on us and for this we will always be grateful. We want to repay the trust of the Federation, investors and the public in the three years to come through programming that constantly has work and research at its center."

Statements from the Sole Administrator of Zebre Parma Michele Dalai: "Franco's presence for me is a guarantee of competence and experience in the management of the sports group. From the very first moment we shared a vision, that of reversing the course of events and halting a decline that seemed unstoppable. To do this takes time and trust, but above all it takes a plan. I am happy that this new position finally matches form and substance. Franco is the sporting soul of Zebre and this is a great starting point, a huge strength."

Biographical and career profile:

Biographical and career profile:
Born in Viadana on October 13, 1956, Franco Tonni played in the late 1970s and early 1990s as opening halfback at his hometown club. In 1996 he embarked on the management path, serving as general manager of Rugby Viadana until 2010 and as sporting director of the newly formed Aironi federal franchise between 2010 and 2012.

Thanks in part to his contribution, the three Italian Cups won by the yellow-black in 2000, 2003 and 2007, the Italian Super Cup lifted in 2007, as well as the first and so far only Italian championship won by the Viadanese in 2002 under then head coach Franco Bernini.

In the early 2000s, Tonni defined in three different seasons the roster of the All Stars XV, the selection of the best foreign players in the top Italian league, fielding in Catania, Arezzo and Treviso against the Italian national team in preparation for the Six Nations.

In 2014, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in England, he worked with the coaching staff of the Simba XV, Kenya's national rugby selection.

In 2021 he joined Zebre Rugby Club as a director and board member, taking on the position of Sports Director this year.