Despite the anguishing state of modern day Juventus and the anticipation of what will surely be another horror show performance on Sunday, the Bianconeri have found a reason to live on another day. New evidence has come into light regarding the Calciopoli scandal and Inter’s involvement in it meaning that Italy can sit up and take note of what really happened in 2006.
Giancarlo Abete, head of the FIGC has confirmed that these latest reports will be discussed in hopes of understanding what really did happen to calcio during those years and who were the culprits. Meanwhile Juventus made a bold move by issuing a statement indicating their desire for equality in relation to the treatment received. Juve have insisted that their lawyers will look into the new evidence surrounding the scandal in order to ensure the protection of the club’s history and legacy – a legacy the Juve directors would rather destroy themselves without the help of those pesky Nerazzurri. Inter President Massimo Moratti, who has taken a while to comment, hit out at the statement released by the Bianconeri: “I think this statement has come from external pressure from the fans. If all this came from Juventus and their directors then it would be a way of not accepting responsibility.”
There is a common misconception that Juventus feel they were completely innocent and that Calciopoli was completely fabricated by Inter, the supposed ‘innocent’ party. This is not true and most enlightened followers will not totally disagree with the following statement by Gerhard Aigner, UEFA general secretary as reported by La Repubblica: “The origin of everything is the disequilibrium that lived then in the Italian Football League, with two companies as Juventus and Milan, which ran more or less everything, one with TV rights and the presidency and the other with the structure we know.”(Interestingly, Aigner then went on to say that it was Guido Rossi and not him who awarded the 2006 Scudetto to Inter – feelings of guilt perhaps?) However, what they also agree with is that Juve were not the only ones to have contacted referees or acted alone. While Milan got away by claiming Meani acted alone despite being on the Milan payroll, the Old Lady should not have suffered the severe punishment it did alone while others basked in her demise. Furthermore, it is also hard to believe that the perfectly balanced team of Bianconeri stars in 2006 with arguably the best Coach in the world won that title by cheating their way through.
The real truth behind this scandal is that Italian football as a whole was wholly corrupt with everyone taking advantage of their contacts and their people to encourage beneficial outcomes for their teams. Calcio was, as a whole, survival of the fittest – whoever had the better entourage, the better ‘friends’ and the stronger power won and whoever did not were infuriated by their lack of pull in the league and left ruing their status within it. Truth of the matter is, no-one was innocent.
Let us also not forget that the Old Lady herself had a hand in getting herself relegated so we all should agree that the Nerazzurri were not entirely to blame for the matter. In the very end, while Inter may be implicated and while the Scudetto stripped off Juve may be stripped off them too, where does this leave calcio? Italian football has been suffering for many years and the unhealthy competition and desire to burn rivals has left a once art form of football in a heap of corrupt mess. Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini has recently been reported to have said: “I don’t believe that we should open a new Calciopoli trial. At this point it would be best to forgive and forget.” Tell that to the Juve fans who have watched their team lose their reputation, their legacy, €300 million and most importantly two league titles. The Bianconeri ending up in the previously unknown territory of mid-table oblivion might aid other teams in breaking into top four but ultimately it has shaken the core of Italian football and the league will forever be known to be tainted. No amount of apologies or punishments handed out to rivals will lessen the pain of watching the black and white team regress years in development. Furthermore, Inter are the only ‘Italian’ team carrying the league in Europe this season and watching them receive a similar punishment to Juve may bring a smile and great satisfaction to many, but ultimately it will only serve to push Calcio further down in the eyes of those who love the beautiful game. Besides, no-one really believed their innocence.
As for this weekend, Juve will able to witness a fine example of a beautifully attacking team in the form of Cagliari coached by the man who could well take over the Bianconeri reigns in the summer. Juve be afraid, be very afraid.