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Italian match fixing raises its head again: this time its Inter

By Tony Attwood

Gian Piero Gasperini has become manager of the Milanese club Inter.  And just as he has, so  Stefano Palazzi, who works for the Italian football federation (FIGC) has published a new 72-page report on the match-fixing of 2006.  After looking at transcripts of phone-tap recordings, Palazzi has reached the view that Inter, (mostly in the guise of their late president Giacinto Facchetti) were as much to blame as the other clubs that have already been indicted and punished.

However because of the way the law works  in Italy action against an accused person or club needs to start within four years of the offence – and it hasn’t.  But it seems it is possible to take away Inter’s 2006 title – which would be amusing since they only got it because Juve, having won the league, had the title removed because of match fixing.

I guess they could go on passing it down the chain forever until we end up with a club that got relegated actually being awarded the title.  That would be a first.

The FIGC president, Giancarlo Abete, has said their will be a ruling on 18 July

And there’s one other little oddity here.   Inter are a big club, as we all know.  But they have taken on a small time manager, who has only managed one Serie A club before (Genoa) and was sacked from there after picking up only a handful of points in the first 10 games last season.

It would be a bit like Arsenal looking at the manager of a second division club who have just scraped promotion through the play offs into the Premier League, and then making him manager of Arsenal.  Which of course would never happen.  (Err, oh shit!)

Worse for Inter they did try and bring in the big hitters, but kept getting rebuffed, a bit like the spotty boy at the disco who tries his luck with the pretty lady and gradually works his way down the list until he finally asks the fat girl no one else wants to get near.  Marcelo Bielsa, André Villas-Boas and Fabio Capello all turned Inter down.

(When Fabio turns you down, you know you have a problem).

As to the match fixing – it is rather reassuring that Italy continues to take such matters seriously – and this just at a time when in the UK we are starting to warm to the idea that people do actually hack into our phones all day every day.

As you may know we (the UK) have lost a newspaper (I use the word lightly) as a result of the phone tapping scandal, and we might lose a few police officers too if the enquiry here gets round to looking at why it took so long to realise the News of the World was hacking everyone and anyone all day long.  The little matter of them not revealing police corruption in return for the police turning a blind eye seems to be lurking around.  But of course nothing is proven, and I haven’t seen the evidence.

So from there, it is but a short step to say, “did anyone at the News of the World actually listen to conversations between refs and representatives of clubs?”   You never know.  The NoW could actually do something useful at the end of its life.

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16 comments to Italian match fixing raises its head again: this time its Inter

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great article Tony.

    And for those who have been denying that such a thing could happen in the EPL by saying: “how it would be possible that such a conspiracy can be kept a secret for such a long time?”
    If it wasn’t for the fact that the Italian police started the phone tapping it still would have been going on. And no one would have noticed it. It still would have been a secret. The most important thing in such a scenario is to make sure that everyone involved has a very good reason to keep their mouth shut.

    I admire the Italian police (like the Greek and Turkish police has to be admired) for not letting this go and for finding out the truth that was well hidden.

    A bit a shame they cannot punish them after 4 years and so Inter will likely escape further punishment. But the fact that they are in trouble to find a new manager and the rumours of their best player leaving could hint at some kind of trouble after all…

  • Anne

    I agree that their inability to find a manager suggests that maybe something doesn’t bode well for the club. They are a very big club after all, it seems like they should be able to find someone.

    I think it’s virtually impossible that all the other big clubs were involved and Inter wasn’t. Unfortunately, I disagree that the Italian police have truly done everything that they can to get to the bottom of this. I haven’t looked into the scandal in too much depth, but I’m under the impression that the Italian people believe that most of the important questions have remained unanswered?

  • Anne

    Could someone give me a link to some good coverage of this News of the World Scandal? It’s not being covered here so I don’t know much about it, and most of the coverage I’ve found hasn’t been very in depth. Thanks.

  • Shard

    Oh please please please let the News of the World have recordings of Reilly telling Dowd or Webb to make ManU win.. Please.. The complete irony of a Murdoch business spoiling Sky and ManU’s party would be simply orgasmic 🙂

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    LOL. I hardly dare to dream…:)

  • insideright

    Can you believe that the NOTW wouldn’t want to hack the phones of football club managers? It’s already been proved that they did it to Graham Taylor (PFA) and Sky Andrew (agent.
    What better way to get news of transfer dealings.
    And as for refs…!

  • bob

    Tony,
    The police commish in charge of her side of the investigation reported today said that only a paltry 170 of the more than 4000 tapped people had been notified. These are people about whom there’s public interest so that newspapers, media stories can be sold and circulated, and Murdoch’s enemies embarrassed or taken down. There are bound to be football names released beyond the one footballer named to date – that one being someone named Wayne Rooney. When other names inevitably surface, the occasion will invite further informed and idle speculations on what the tapping may have done at the time. If there’s a ref or two were involved in the tapping, or someone amidst the hives of Riley, now that would be something, it really would be something…

  • bob

    Why moderation?

  • bob

    Tony,
    The police commish in charge of her side of the investigation reported today said that only a paltry 170 of the more than 4000 tapped people had been notified. These are people about whom there’s public interest so that newspapers, media stories can be sold and circulated, and Murdoch’s enemies embarrassed or taken down. There are bound to be football names released beyond the one footballer named to date – that one being someone named Wayne Rooney. When other names inevitably surface, the occasion will invite further informed and idle speculations on what the tapping may have done at the time. If there’s a ref or two were involved in the tapping, or someone amidst the hives of Riley, now that would be something, it really would be something…

  • bob

    insideright,
    cheers, of course! so that makes 3 football related names. but no refs (boo hoo, yet!)

  • bob

    Anne,
    The Guardian online is the lead paper, it broke the scandal (Nick Davies, to be jorno of the year), and has minute by minute blog coverage with some additional brilliant articles constantly on it. It will inevitably turn up more than the 3 football names out of the 170 names that were notified, out of 4000 plus names that are on record but not yet released to the public. The NY Times and NPR Radio has been covering it in the US, but to a far less though steady degreee

  • bob

    Shard,
    Indeed, the Rednose 20 may yet be derailed. There is no predicting, but dreaming of every sort and time is encouraged.

  • bob

    Tony,
    Have you read any/all of the new report? Any idea if it’s available in English? Could you or an Italian-reader here point a few major points on how that scandal worked, and how it came to light then and, further now (if that’s covered in the report)? Obviously having a specific sense (details) of how these (this) things worked on the pitch could make it more thinkable in other countries – though of course never here.

  • bob

    Walter,
    Do you have a sense of why the police took action in these cases? My understanding from the media on Greece us that UEFA passed on its evidence of 41 “suspicious” matches to the Greek FA and that, in turn, led to the police investigation and arrests. Perhaps, though, it was the imminence of a police investigation that first pushed/forced/induced UEFA to bring this upon the Greek FA? Is there any coverage in Europe that you’ve read to shed some more light on how this came to light?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I’m quite sure this NOTW scandal will have far reaching repercussions vis-a-vis football and we will be treated some delicious fare involving old Rednose .He is not one to mince words and I’m sure he must have belittle our team and manager ,as he did many years ago ,especially comments about Lee Dixon which caused a stir many years ago .
    I’m praying he is among those tapped and if the EPL refrees were too ,then let the shit hit the fan.

  • bob

    Brickfields Gunner,
    There are by today’s Guardian’s count, some 4000 mobiles and 5000 landlines hacked. Your wish may well be fulfilled.