By Dashnor Kaloçi
-Secret relationship / “Despite our efforts at Radio-Television and the friends of Poste Telegrafa, the connection with Italy was not achieved, and Sandro Çoti became nervous, I create the idea that this is done on purpose by the Albanian side, saying: ‘Such defects, we usually have in Eastern countries”!-
Memorie.al / From December 1944 until the end of 1991, that is, for more than four and a half decades, all foreign citizens who came to Albania, for work reasons or with services different, as well as for private visits, they would be assigned one or two accompanying persons (depending on those who would come), who would accompany them for the entire time of their stay in Albania , even, waiting for “foreign friends”, from the moment of their arrival at the only airport of Rinas, or at the Border Crossing Points, such as; Hani i Hoti, Morinë, Qafë-Thanë, Tushemisht, Kapshticë, and Kakavijë.
All persons who were appointed as companions of foreign citizens or those of Albanian nationality (who came to their relatives), without any exception, were obliged to make a written information report, where they noted , not only the movements they had made with foreign people, but also the conversations they had had with them, their thoughts and comments about our country, as well as the meetings they had had with different people, etc., etc. All of these were mandatory to be noted in the information report, but they could also be expanded, depending on the tasks and instructions given by the persons who appointed these companions, where they were mainly the persons and officials of the Security the State, to whom the report-information in question was delivered at the end.
Not even the legend of RAI’s sports microphone, the well-known football commentator, Sandro Çoti, (also known for his characteristic voice, not only in the Apennine peninsula, but also more widely throughout the European continent), who, in the middle of March 1984, together with a colleague of his (journalist Encio Luci), as well as another large group of journalists, came to Tirana, to broadcast the match between the “Shpresa” teams of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania and that of Italy.
And as was the rule, the person who was assigned to receive, accompany and accompany him (in this case, from Albanian Radio-Television), carried out the task given by the competent persons, compiling the report-information, which was requested. But what was written in that information report about the name and fame of Sandro Çoti and his colleague, Encio Lucio, what were the visits they made to our country, what conversations did they have with their companions and other people, how did they carry out their duties for which they had come, what were their thoughts and comments about Socialist Albania, its leadership, the economy of the country, the life of Albanians, culture, Albanian sports, etc., etc.
For all this, etc., about the several-day visit of the legend of the Italian sports microphone to Albania, at the beginning of the spring of 1984, who broadcast the football match between the representative teams “Shpresa” of Albania and Italy, (which took place in the National Stadium “Qemal Stafa” of the capital and ended in a draw 0 to 0), we know the report-information in question, which we extracted from a voluminous file located in the institution of the Authority for the Information of Documents of the former Security of State, which is published for the first time and exclusively by Memorie. al
SECRET DOCUMENT WITH REPORT-INFORMATION COMPILED BY THE COMPANIONS OF TWO WELL-KNOWN ITALIAN SPORTS COMMENTATORS, RAI 1, SANDRO ÇOTI AND ENCIO LUCIO, WHO CAME TO ALBANIA IN MARCH 1984, TO BROADCAST THE FOOTBALL MATCH BETWEEN TEAMS REPRESENTING HOPE ALBANIA AND ITALY
R E L A C I O N
ON THE STAY IN ALBANIA OF THE TWO RAI SPORTS COMMENTATORS IN THE CASE OF THE ALBANIA-ITALY MATCH (“Hopes”)
From March 12, 1984 to March 14, 1984, we accompanied the two Italian Radio-Television journalists, Sandro Çoti and Encio Luci, who came to broadcast the Italy-Albania match (“Hopes”) together with a group of journalists , various correspondents of Italian newspapers, who accompanied the team.
The first reception we did in Rinas, immediately after arrival, Sandro Çoti, is one of RAI’s most popular sports commentators, 56 years old, over 25 years working in radio (as he said himself), also as a speaker of songs and cinematographic critic.
As we noticed, there was a special respect for him from journalists, especially from his colleague. He was a football player. His first presentation was with the words: “I played for two years with an Albanian, Llustra, whom I met two months ago. I also know Kryeziu (who now has a laundry in Rome), and Boriči when he was studying Medicine in Italy. Llustra and Kryeziu still look very young”. He asked to buy postcards, but they seemed expensive.
Encio Luci, was also a longtime RAI sports commentator. His first questions were about our football team, the development of football in us, the championship, etc. We asked them if any TV group had come for the match, both of them first showed, as if they didn’t know anything, (“we are for Radio, TV is not connected with us”), then they said that Italian TV has not sent man and Çoti added twice: “This is strange, strange, true”.)
We told you that we are representatives of the Albanian Radio-Television, to help them and to meet all the requirements they had for the smooth running of their work and the performance of their duties as sports commentators. They thanked us and laid out the way they were going to broadcast, the technical requirements they had, the tools you needed, like microphones, blacks for interviews and double connections to each other, live on the air, etc.
Regarding the broadcast time, we realized that both of them did not know for sure how much they would broadcast (“maybe the whole match”, said Çoti) and they did not know with which channel (RAI 1-2). They then explained this, saying that they would connect directly, as soon as the first part ended, they would broadcast the entire second part and continue for 15 minutes after it, with different comments.
We took the appropriate measures and met all their requests. During the two days of their stay, they did not follow the program of visits, as the other group of journalists did, they did not go to Kruja, to the concert, etc.
In the mornings, Çoti stayed at the hotel (he didn’t come to the stadium, to the training of his team, he didn’t care about the broadcasting conditions. Luci, in general, followed what Çoti did, even when he had a desire, when the occasion to go with the group to Kruja, he obeyed his colleague and did not go.
During the short meetings we had, they showed interest in Albania, they asked about the prices, about the salaries, about the distribution of tickets at the stadium, they asked for material about Albania, especially, Comrade Enver’s speech before the voters. We gave them in the Italian language, we also gave them a lot of other propaganda materials, which they took willingly.
On the day of the match, we hosted a lunch in their honor. During lunch, they discussed various problems, they were more interested in sports issues. From what they had heard and what they had told you, they were impressed by our country (“we didn’t know it, as we saw it”, said Çoti), the lack of taxes, the very low rents, the safety and calmness of the people.
They asked; does Albania sell sportsmen and footballers? Why don’t you sell?! We explained this problem at length and Çoti supported our opinion, while Luçi did not. You had made a bad impression and made fun of the fact that the Italian journalists bought the entrance tickets to the stadium.
After lunch at the stadium, before the start of the match, Çoti expressed these thoughts: “We have an extremely good impression, especially from the understanding and cooperation with RTSH journalists. They helped us a lot in our work and we are very grateful to you. We know that Albania is beautiful from the books we have read, or from the documentaries we have seen on Albania in Italy, in recent years.
Albania is a country that has been reborn in many aspects. We consider the opportunity that was given to us to visit a great occasion, even from a human (not professional) point of view. We think and hope that we will soon have the opportunity to return to this country once again, with the adult team”.
While Luçi was more restrained in his statements. He had the idea that in Albania, most people knew Italian. “Certainly, for the world championship, there is a “cheer” for Italy here, he said. We explained to him that in our country, we like beautiful football, cheering, it is done only for Albania, and his opinion is not true, as the teams are liked, not according to the countries, but according to the game they play, from one match or another.
During the match, the connection did not go according to their prediction. However, our measures and those of Poste Telegrafa friends, the Italian side did not respond in time and Sandro Çoti became nervous, I create the idea that this is done on purpose by the Albanian side (“such defects, we usually have in Eastern countries”, he said) .
We explained to him that his voice goes to Italy, but they didn’t answer, we changed his microphone, we proved to him that our connections were OK, but he didn’t obey. “Apparently, we came for tourism,” he said. We were convinced that their readiness was lacking, since RAI, in the meantime, gave programmed shows.
Finally, five minutes before the end of the match, the tie was decided. From what we heard through the headphones, Çoti commented the match well, spoke sympathetically about our team, and continued the comments even after the match ended, for another 15-20 minutes, together with his colleague, who interviewed the Italian journalists in the stands.
He ended the direct comment by praising the public (correct and very competent), thanking his Albanian colleagues, for the warm reception he received and the help they gave him, and he apologized to the listeners, saying that the connection came late, as result of faults occurring on international lines.
Then, he and Luçi gave four short comments, which were recorded in Rome, for the news programs (RAI-1, 19.00, 7.00, 8.00, and tomorrow and RAI-2, 19.30). Their words were positive.
We then clarified the issue of the defect that occurred. The secretary of the sports editorial office in Rome, via the telephone line, said that Tirana made the mistake. But then on the phone, a RAI technician appeared, who clearly explained to the two consumers that the fault for the late connection was on the Italian side, because as he said; “Bari sent the signal from Tirana to Milan and not to Rome, there was a misunderstanding between them”. Choti apologized.
We parted at Rinas, thanking us once again for the reception. Memorie.al
Tirana, on 15.3.1984