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[Archived] Italian Refereeing Scandal

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Judging by the first few weeks, only AC are going to make light work of their points deduction but -8 might yet be enough to deny them the Championship.

Irrespective of whether the match fixing is at an end, there is refreshing feel to Italian football this season.

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Surprise, surprise, the Italian Olympic Appeals Court (whatever that is) decided to reduce the points hits for three of the dirty four.

Berlusconi who is up for fraud this week with Tessa Jowell's husband is obviously too weak to save AC's skin so their 8 point deduction stands but Lazio drops to a paltry 3 points penalty and Juve now have a sporting chance of promotion unlike Genoa who did not institutionally corrupt the entire Serie A but dropped into Serie C.

A Maltese perspective taken from the Maltastar web site says it all:

A joke called Serie A

The mystery of the Italian fan's motivation

Alan Zammit 28 October 2006

When a business does a gaffe, people related to it panic. When Coca Cola in the 80s went out with the New Coke it did one big business joke. You could see them panic and worrying about the implications.

This attempt by Coca Cola became the joke of the year. But it phased out, because when this thing happens once, people easily forget and the solidity of the business returns.

But when you see what is happening in Italy, the Serie A to be precise, it’s a bit pushing the patience to the limit. Football in Italy is something religious.

Football in Italy stands there with Pope John, Ferrari, spaghetti and Valentino Rossi in the Italian hearts. It’s something essentially vital in the people’s lives.

So when the Italian fanatic woke up in a bright May morning to know that football is more corrupted that all their politicians put together in one basket and that they were just a bunch of puppets to go to watch a couple of fixed games.... well the reaction would never have been friendly.

The story started some time ago when political parties were changing seats in Italy, which means the Mafia boss Provenzano can now be caught and Italian football can be ‘cleaned’.

Juventus were always thought to be ‘preferred’ by the referees. But then again, everywhere in the world there is a team where people say they are preferred when reality shows they are in fact not.

But when you see what has been going on, with ‘Il Padrino’ Moggi controlling everything that moves in the Serie A, you sort of feel for the fans that religiously every Sunday give their support.

Imagine yourself, spending days and days travelling in blistering sun and freezing winters to go watch your team at the other side of Italy with the result already decided by a rich millionaire in Turin.

And yet, the Italians still go.

I know the attendances are not the highest, but it’s amazing. They have been thrown everything in their faces and yet still… they go on a Sunday.

Points were deducted, Juventus play against Frosinone now… and with their points shrinking down every few weeks. It started with 30, then they appealed and became 17 and now 9.

It’s a joke because Juventus earlier this week were lounging in the 20th place, now with a decision by a judge they are 12th. That is sheer lunacy. Italian football it seems is decided in the brown tables of the law courts rather than on a green pitch.

Milan were also deducted points and incredibly enough, they were decreased enough points so they can compete in the Champions League. Luck huh?

Earlier this week Siena were deducted one point because of accounting trouble. So there you are Giuseppe, watching and jumping hysterically as Siena historically snatch a point at the might San Siro against Milan and then an old man at the law courts tells you that point won’t count because Siena’s accountant didn’t send the tax reports early enough.

Adding to that, Inter are the current Italian champions, even though last year they came third. Obviously, they won it by a court ruling.

How pathetic is that?

Edited by philipl
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I've been reading a good book about Italy called The dark heart of Italy by Tobias Jones. It's by a British guy who has lived in Italy for a good few years, and it explains the culture of corruption, the importance of appearance in Italy. It is a couple of years old, and talks the latest football scandal was the nandrolone business, but it is enlightening about certain aspects of Italian society. For instance, bending the rules is not frowned upon, and is seen as showing guile and cunning in the face of an overwhelmingly bureaucratic system. Hence why Italian football has so many divers, as if you can con a ref into giving a penalty, you should do it.

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