Club Focus – Juventus – The Calciopoli Scandal drags on

To many Juventini, it will come as no surprise that new evidence regarding Calciopoli has come to light – it appears Inter and Milan were also alleged to have had phone conversations with referee designator, Paolo Bergamo. Now most people who live to defend the name of Juventus have repeatedly pointed the accusatory finger at Inter in relation to the Calciopoli. To most fans of Italian football, it is hard to not be suspicious of a club who gained so much from the demise of Italy’s most accomplished side. On hearing the alleged ‘conspiracy’ theory, it becomes even harder to dismiss their role in the scandal.

Oldmoratti

In a nutshell, the Calciopoli was a term coined to describe the match-fixing scandal that occurred in Italy in 2006. However, on closer inspection, Juventus were never actually found guilty of having fixed any matches. Indeed, one of the primary factors behind their demotion to Serie B was that Luciano Moggi was deemed to have had too much contact with referring officials, thus providing Juventus with an unfair advantage. This makes it all the more interesting that – according to the highly credible La Stampa – the court in Naples in which the current Calciopoli trial is taking place heard that many recordings of phone calls between Inter had been unearthed. Both Giacinto Facchetti and Massimo Moratti had made numerous phone calls to Bergamo to complain about the refereeing situation. When the chief investigator of the scandal Colonel Auricchio was questioned with regards to the investigation, he maintained that all wiretapped calls have been reported and those that hadn’t been had been summarised. So when he was quizzed with regards to the existence of these tapes in which Facchetti and Moratti organised a dinner with Bergamo, he interestingly replied: “I can’t explain this to you, Facchetti must have dialled another number.”

Truthful or not, Inter have and forever will be thought to have played a large role in the scandal. Yet what is truly worrying is that every day the court hears new, increasingly damning, evidence of just how corrupt Italian football was. The moment that Telecom employee, Caterina Platea, admitted to having been ordered to destroy transcripts and altering the names on others, it was obvious that this scandal was more than just about Juventus. Milan who were actually caught having an employee, Meani, verbally threatening officials and demanding favourable decisions from the referees escaped punishment by claiming that Meani acted alone – despite being a Rossoneri employee. Yet alleged tapes of him discussing the issue with both Adriano Galliani and Silvio Berlusconi exist but were supposedly pulled from the investigation. And now the court heard that even calls between Bergamo and Galliani existed.

What is even more noteworthy to the fans of John Elkann who missed out on hearing this news at the time was that Ms. Platea also confessed to having seen a Fiat director present at the Telecom Italia meetings. As reported in these pages before, Elkann did not want the triad to maintain the role at the helm of the Old Lady anymore and needed a way to get rid of them without risking them moving to any competitors. Thus by failing to defend the Old Lady at her time in need, his rivalry with cousin Andrea Agnelli – in addition to this eye witness report – one can hardly understand how a Juventini could put their trust into a man who, according to these allegations, appears to have helped wield the axe that destroyed the reputation of the Bianconeri.

Giuliano Tavaroli, the security at Telecom Italia who was arrested for having sold tapings of private calls to people admitted that Inter chief Moratti was one of his clients. However, in the opinion of this writer, the fact that they will probably never be implicated in the scandal and thus subsequently punished is astonishing. The added fact that Milan were not dealt a harsher punishment for their role in the scandal is equally astounding. Begamo himself admitted that Juventus were not the only club he spoke with and yet Italy still wants to will this problem away when it is clear that many of these corrupt individuals still work within the world of football.

Smugmoggi

This Club Focus is not written to defend the actions of Luciano Moggi and his accomplices nor is it done to claim the innocence of Juventus in the scandal. However, it should serve to notify most that corruption in Italian football was not just centred upon one team, it was commonplace in a whole host of Serie A sides, a number of which are very fortunate to have escaped castigation. For those clubs that were handed punishments, they should have been in line with the ones Juventus received but despite the interesting developments, it is highly unlikely that anything will be done to truly rid Calcio of the poison that has infested its leagues.

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