Based in London and writing for a global audience our aim is to produce EliteFootballTalk. Enjoy the site and feel welcome to join in our discussion on the beautiful game.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Italian football scandal: FIGC cave in after a waste of time

Yesterday evening the sports court of the Italian Football Federation, the FIGC (see previous article on acronym) heard the appeals from Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio regarding their sanctions over match-tapping, and decided on their implications handed down by the FIGC tribunal:

Juventus remain as they were after the first decision, in Serie B, stripped of their 2005 & 2006 league titles, out of European football with officials banned from football, to play three games behind closed doors, with the mere consolation that they will begin Serie B football with 17pts deficient rather than the originally imposed 30pts. They have had to watch their captain Fabio Cannavaro leave for Real Madrid along with Emerson for a combined £13.7m, and Lillian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta for £13m jointly to Barcelona. They may have been fined 120,000 euros (my calculation is just over £80,000) but that has not been confirmed.

Fiorentina were reinstated to Serie A yet begin their season with a 19pts deficit rather than the originally imposed 12pts. They are still refrained from European football. It was mentioned they too were fined 120,000 euros and to play three matches behind closed doors but I have not heard or read it confirmed about the fine.

Lazio was also reinstated to Serie A and begin their season with a 11pts deficit instead of the originally imposed 7pts. They too were said to have been fined 120,000 euros and forced to play two matches behind closed doors, again the fine has not been read or heard by myself to have been confirmed. They too are refrained from European football.

AC Milan were further reduced in punishment with a 8pts deficit to begin Serie A with instead of the imposed 15pts, forced to play behind closed doors for one match AND reinstated in the qualifying stage of the Champions League with Arsenal and Liverpool. I said previously in my last article on this that AC Milan starting with 15pts deficit was not a punishment, it was a challenge. Eight points now makes a mockery of that statement, and European football to boot (excuse the pun).

Implications reverberated elsewhere. With Fiorentina and Lazio up into Serie A, Leece and Treviso now find they are eventually consigned to Serie B while Messina remain up pending Juventus' appeal, which I strongly expect to not be overturned. In the Champions League goes AC Milan with Roma, Chievo and Inter, meaning Palermo now joins Parma and Livorno into the UEFA Cup, Empoli are out of European football. I am not against the four clubs, my position is with irrefutable evidence the punishment fits the offence. If the evidence indicated a necessity for the punishment, then an appeal will have to be equally irrefutbale to reduce that punishment. If these appeals were so convincing, that questions that which the FIGC relied upon to issue the original punishments. If the evidence against the four clubs is that questionable, the FIGC should not have issued such punishments in the first place.

What could have occurred to change a demotion back into a promotion? Even more puzzling, the promotion is accompanied with a heavier points deficit, so Fiorentina and Lazio did wrong and should not be demoted but hit with a heavier points deficit to begin with. Sounds to me that the FIGC caved in to crocodile tears. In light of fresh new evidence in favour of the appellants, the punishments should have stayed or never made in the first place. Leece and Teviso considered it a reprieve for a bad season only to find they are to be in Serie B, Palermo considered Champions League football and now settle for the UEFA Cup (no disrespect to the UEFA Cup but clubs know where they prefer to be) and practically Juventus' major rivals are given a further helping hand. Bearing in mind the implications to others in this matter, the FIGC should have been more considerate and sanctioned with appropriate punishment, not that which is hugely overturned.



Blogger Snooky said...

Perhaps you should have read all the evidence presented before you make any such comments!

7/26/2006 1:14 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i already mentioned in my prev post that the only reason most of the clubs like milan were punished harshly was because thr was a strong inter connection that was trying to influence the trial. How can you put ppl like Rossi in charge of the trial if he is well known to be a former board of director of inter? Imagine if Chelsea were convicted ina certain trial and the judging panel included a former board of director of liverpool/man utd/ Arsenal. You cant really get justice from ppl like that we could be looking out for their best intrest. Well infact Rossi has been trying his level best over the past couple of weeks to reassign last years scudeto to Inter which i feel preety much shows his true intention. The punishment againts other clubs were harsh to make live easy for inter. Why did they appoint ppl like that incharge of the trial? Erm its preety much politics...Prodi vs Berlu.

The funny thing is they banned milans vice president for a year for just listening to a conversation and going...uh..oh ah...yea..bye. It was preety much the only thing he said...

Milan still have a strong chance of winning the league with a -8 considering the fact that they are up againts Inter and not Juve (no pun intended). I have no idea what the inter fans would do if they still dont win the scudeto wif all this help.....we all know what happened last year after the villareal im preety much expecting something worst to happen.


7/26/2006 2:17 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Doesn't seem like there is any rhyme or reason Redsman....totally gamboozoolled....!!!

The interesting aspect recently was also the fact that investigations have kicked of in many european countries I think (I can't remember which ones specifically) and also fingers being pointed at the EPL...where the PFA appoint referees I think...thus could contravene rules EXACTLY like the Italian Serie A POTENTIALLY. Well...I think it just says a lot that the German refs, Italian refs were under scrutiny...EPL will have it's day soon I reckon...not necessarily for breaking rules...but clubs best be careful not to get suckered or caught out for anything innoculous (like Arsenal and the Beveren money thing...although that was to kick David Dein off the Chairman's spot for the FA I guess)...

7/27/2006 3:15 pm

Blogger EL said...

Haven't followed this story particularly closely but is it just the clubs ie: the fans and everybody else associated with the clubs who get punished? Have the individuals who were caught out been procecuted in any way? I take it it's not a 'legal' matter but why is malpractice which results in one team gaining financialy at another's expense ot fraud? Excuse my ignorance.


7/28/2006 12:33 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Firstly, to answer Snooky: "Perhaps you should have read all the evidence presented before you make any such comments!"

Why, Snooky? Perhaps you should have elaborated your point. The evidence was that presented at the FIGC tribunal, the same evidence the FIGC sports court had in front of them. The four clubs in question simply pleaded the respective punishments were far too severe. Therefore the point of my article was the punishments were meted out with such severity there was a strong likelihood they would be overturned on appeal. In doing so the FIGC tirbunal could not have thought through how to apply any appropriate sanctions. It is a major turn around to reinstate Fiorentina and Lazio if the offence/s were so severe as to initially warrant demotion.

Let me be clearer: You are Treviso or Leece, facing relegation, only to hear you are not going down but instead staying up, another season at least in Serie A. Then on appeal the decision reflects that you are going down to a lower division, you feel dejected after learning you had a great chance of staying up when none existed. Or you are Palermo, stepping into Champions League competition when you expected the UEFA Cup but now you are in the UEFA Cup, because the FIGC tribunal handed down decisions that were susceptible to being overturned on appeal. My point further is did the punishments initially fit the offences? The sports court did not think so, which begs the question of the evidence to have not convinced the sports court.

It is the equivalent of handing a five-year prison sentence to someone who is guilty of littering in public. Clearly the offence does not fit the punishment, so why a five-year sentence that could easily be overturned on appeal and why not a fixed penalty notice?

The main thing for me is not the evidence so much, for the FIGC are content they found out wrongdoing, but it's the punishments handed initially. If they demote Juve, Lazio and Fiorentina, the punishments must fit the offences clearly and unambiguously. For the sports court to not see this has to question either the tribunal's adjudication or the evidence. Or, as sid hints in his comment, there is more to this than what we see in public. Roman Prodi vs Silvio Berlusconi, the latter many Italian figures, both in football and politics, have longed to remove from both. For me, being the FIGC tribunal, I cannot have evidence in front of me indicating a strong requisite for points deduction and/or fine, and then go ahead and add demotion and stripping of two league titles. That would mean I have gone overboard and therefore question my own judgement, a judgement which involves much more than four top teams. For one, what if Fiorentina and Lazio had an immediate exodus of players wanting to stay in Serie A?


7/28/2006 5:51 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home


Locations of visitors to this page