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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Juventus, Fiorentina & Lazio sanctioned as AC Milan survive

Last night the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (the Italian Football Federation), concluded its investigation into allegations of match-fixing in Serie A, that was said to involve twenty-six individuals ranging from executives and management personnel at four clubs (Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio), officials within the federation and referees. Under suspicion, phone-tapping was agreed and various phone calls were recorded detailing conversations that was said to have amounted to the commission of arranging for certain officials to officiate certain matches of the mentioned clubs. The FIGC's decision was read out last night and declared certain officials employed at all four clubs and who were involved in the match-fixing were guilty and as a result sanctions would incur on the clubs.

Juventus, who had won the back-to-back titles of 2004/05 and 2005/06, were to be stripped of those titles, they will be relegated to Serie B and begin their first season there with a 30pts deduction, out of European football for 2006/07 and 2007/8, their former general manager Luciano Moggi and former chief executive Antonio Giraudo banned from football for five years. I understand both Moggi and Giraudo have been recommended by the prosecutor for a lifetime ban.

AC Milan will remain in Serie A but will begin the new season with a 15pts deduction, are out of European football for 2006/07 after receiving a 50% pts deduction from last season's tally of 88pts to now 44pts (meaning AC Milan will officially be 12th for 2005/06), their vice-president Adriano Galliani banned for 12 months from football while club official Leonardo Meani received a 42-month suspension.

Fiorentina, who narrowly avoided relegation to Serie B in 2004/2005 and have therefore come some way a season later, are now heading there with Juventus to start their season with a 12pts deduction, with the same European football implications as Juventus, the Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle banned for three years, and his brother and Fiorentina honorary president Diego Della Valle, banned for four years.

Lazio will join Juventus and Fiorentina in Serie B with a 7pts deduction to begin the season with and the same European football implications, their president Claudio Lotito banned for three years.

I say from the outset Juventus were hit hard and not with a pillow but a jackhammer. I considered none of the clubs would be relegated but heavily fined and docked points but the FIGC were not kidding, and for such sanctions they must have sifted through substantial compelling evidence to have come to their decision. This is subject to appeals with one club, I believe it was AC Milan, stating they may very well be prepared to take any appeal outside of the football jurisdiction into the civil courts. Yet any appeal to be made has to be logged within three days, therefore Monday was said to be the day appeals would occur. The FIGC have to adjudicate over any appeal and finalise a decision before the 25th July, when they are expected to submit the Italian teams for the Champions League campaign.

I would imagine the appeals will be jointly lodged, but as far as their European implications go, there is no way back. Last night's decision was final in regard to European football, these teams will definitely not be participating therefore the appeals will cover only the demotions, suspensions and points deductions. The FIGC are expected to promote AS Roma, Chievo and Palermo along with Inter Milan for the Champions League, and now Livorno, Parma and Empoli for the UEFA Cup.

Was AC Milan not demoted because their involvement was minor or because it would misconstrue the numbers in Serie B? Consider the players, particularly those at Juvenuts, who collectively formed thirteen of the Italy World Cup winning squad, who may decide to move to remain in European football, given that an appeal may reinstate their Serie A status. If I was in charge of any of these clubs, I would call an emergency meeting with the players and discuss. I'm sure further comment will ensue after the appeal hearings and decisions.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well they dont have much of a case againts milan...its actually all a friend of mine...billy said..

"As for the calciopoli scandal and other stuff this is what I think : (an appeal will not do anything good as Rossi and Ruopolo the investigator and Judge are Inter Milan fans, this is proven btw, Rossi was even member of the Inter board in the 90's)

The only reason Milan is even in this trial is because Rossi the chief investigator (he is a good friend of Morrati, the Inter patron), and Prodi (the new prime ministre and biggest ennemy of Berlusconi) got them into it . BTW, Prodi is only interested in football in two things, to go on the picture with the world cup winning squad and to hit Berlusconi where it hurts ".


7/16/2006 6:14 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks sid. I'm a little conspiracy theory enthusiast and though your comments have to be proven, I wouldn't be too surprised if they were found to have true elements. Tomorrow the appeals were expected to begin, and were they to be heard independently then hope may occur for a reduction but like most football associations under FIFA's eye, the FIGC would have to be thoroughly shown a good case to change the sanctions.

In light of the allegation that the EPL is rife with corruption (it may have been Fabio Capello), I would like to know what would happen to the English clubs involved? The same punishment?


7/16/2006 10:14 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks for the review of the Italian football scandal Redsman, and thanks for your comments Sid.

While Juventus' actions have been well-documented in the media; I have not been able to find out the exact details of what AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio are supposed to have done? I would also like to know why AC Milan have not shared the same demotion fate as the three other team's on trial?

Re Juve: I'm glad that the FIGC have been willing to impose such a heavy punishment after conducting its investigation. First, it is totally out of line with the spirit of football - as well as any rules - that referee tampering of the type described in the allegations took place. And secondly, it is important for football that a deterrent signal was made by the authorities to the effect that not even the biggest clubs can escape powerful sanction if they are found to be tampering with officials.

7/18/2006 6:49 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says....Redsman my pal, I am so glad these big boys have been stuffed at last. BUUUT, when will the FIFA boys have the guts to retrospectively investigate a few other big names ? I go back a long way in football support and can remember results that have won titles & cups for some big boys in this country and in Spain, that were the most obvious fix via refs or players, and they have never been queeried except by the losing fans.

Come on, lets just go back to the George Graham farce. He wrongly accepted part of an agents commission, but handed it in before long, but got stuffed for it.

He knows and we know that many, so called top managers have been down this avenue but only George & arsenal were done.........WHY?

My biggest beef is with Real Madrid, they openly boast even now, that they speak to other teams players & agents....are they dealt with...never. They also have a few too many last minute wins, at very important times to be a coincedence, but they have not & will not be investigated......why? because most of FIFA are'friends' etc.

One shocking thought is that if the Italian giants have been caught by accident, how many top clubs have not been caught...yet?

My hope is that one day, a bent Ref is going to get religious and decide to spill the beans to the Crappy Daily Sun.

7/21/2006 4:08 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I wonder if it is within major organisations, or indeed authorities, to wield a rod against some and withhold it in regard to others. Our very own British government is tantamount to this. Local authorities are not exempt, law enforcement is none too disimilar to it too. The FIGC saw fit to hammer home a major ringing to all or anyone else tempting to stray into any tampering within football, with AC Milan hit least And with Silvio Berlusconi, I'm sorry, I find the man very shady. Would I imply Mr Berlusconi may have made a deal with the FIGC? Well that would be scandalous.....

We have had the implementation of rules and amendments said to update those rules in football, the offside rule has been the most spoken of due to some of it's puzzling decisions. We have had another update that a handball in the penalty area is to be treated as that and not a mere accidental arm in the way of the ball. Yet last season one player hardly saw the path of the ball but was penalised, and another player who made no attempt to handball but his actions of diving into a tackle with arms high would constitute a handball but was waived away. Bizarre, the actions of one is similar, if not identical, to another yet two contrasting decisions.

Perhaps the Luis Garcia goal against Chelsea in the CL semis, was that party to an influence? Arguably the linesman gave it without a moment's thought? Zidane's headbutt not seen by linesman nor referee yet both appeared in discussion and came to the conclusion of what hapened, with FIFA claiming the fourth official had no influence, aided or otherwise. FIFA claimed to stamp out diving through strict applications of the officials but diving still occurred and plenty. Many moments in football have occurred with puzzling expressions, for witnesses have seen a contrasting decision to that which they expected.

So many moments in football could give argument to the issue an influence may be within our game here. One could question our FA are influenced too. I certainly would, considering what has occurred there within the past year or so, or going back to when Eriksson was appointed. I would be doing so with some authority and would interject speculation but it would be speculation from common sense, something which has seen myself through some devious moments. But until the blower gets on the whistle (a whistle-blower being a referee, what a potential irony), then English football is not so troubled. However, I haven't heard how the football authorities got wind (wind, whistle-blowing, another ironic concept) in Italy of the tampering, I have read that suspicion arosed and phone-tapping was sanctioned. No one has delved into how they discovered the enterprise in the first place......


7/22/2006 12:54 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got one question...Will the use of tv replays help cut down on all this nonsense?


7/22/2006 6:06 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

The one gripe I have with TV replays is how long would it take to review an incident. How long would it take someone to review an incident? Would play have to stop in order for a fifth official to rewind back and state an absolute opinion or decision? Or would play continue and in the meanwhile the fifth official reviews and informs the referee of a decision? In such a scenario of the latter, if it involved a penalty decision, doe sthe referee halt play once the ball goes out, and then brings it back to the opposite end to award the eventual penalty?

Until those questins are thoroughly answered I cannot say how useful tv replays will be. I am of the opinion that debatable decisions should be decided and justly given or not given, and yet there is another side of me that says controversial decisons may cost one side but they excite the crowd, may even change a game, and this is from a fan's POV. From the POV of a manager, he wants his decisions.

The head-butt is definitely something I would want TV replays introduced for, any violent conduct or ungentlemanly conduct. I would hope a player would decide against such conduct because camera cover every angle, even worse if he is on 'PlayerCam'!! The 'was it in? Handball? Out of play?' ones, I don't know about as yet.

Let me add here that the decision to sanction Materazzi for words was diabolical. If the English FA were to sanction players for what they say, other than racial abuse or abusive language, then players would be attending in droves every week. As far as I am concerned, blast FIFA. The one person they should have looked into was Zidane and then withdrew the award. The fact he was allowed to keep it meant the investigation was a total PR dream for image sake.


7/22/2006 11:22 pm


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