By Walter Broeckx
As you know I have been talking a lot about referees on this site and on our website Referee Decisions.
As I have gained the feeling that there is something rotten in the state of football in the PL, I have tried to gather as much data as possible on as many games and on as many decisions as is possible over the last seasons. The results can be found on this site for last season and also on Referee Decisions over the current season.
I have noticed some things that looked rather familiar. Things I have seen and noticed before in other countries. So I will try to give you some food for thought. I will try to start a new series about Calciopoli.
Calciopoli is the name that was given to the Italian football scandal that came above water in 2006.
I will try to say what it was all about and how it was uncovered. I will give examples on what happened. I will give transcripts of phone calls of the people involved and I will talk about things I have heard myself from my own country.
And then it is up to you. Up to you to decide. To decide if we are seeing the same things. Could we have a similar kind of web (not Webb the ref)? Could it be possible that Calciopoli is reproduced in some form in the PL?
Of course I cannot prove anything. I can only give you the facts that are known from Calciopoli and then we can see similarities in the PL or come to the conclusion that we can be assured all is fine and well in the PL. After all we are English. And Calciopoli happened in Italy.
I also will show you that Calciopoli was not just about club directors influencing the person who appointed the refs. It was not just about club directors and the persons who appointed the refs who influenced the referees themselves. No it went even further than that.
I will show you how the people involved also had an influence on the media. And how a few people in the media co-operated with the criminals to cover things up. By showing or not showing things on TV. And maybe next time you see a certain incident not shown on TV of a match you have seen in the flesh and think: how strange.
Or you will see the journalists go on about an incident and highlight it to show how bad a decision was. And maybe you will think : are they trying to hurt someone as they didn’t make such a fuss about a similar incident in another game?
Stay with me and I will show it to you that Calciopoli was a big thing. With many involved. And with all those people keeping silent about it. Nobody spoke about it until….some brave judges did what they thought they had to do. Start an investigation that nobody knew about and that was going to shock not just Italian football but also the whole football world.
Let me take you to the world of crooks. The world of Calciopoli.
It all started in the season 2004-2005. In those days a lot of unjustified penalties were given, strange cards were handed out and many questionable decisions were made. Some judges from Turin noticed this and started an investigation in 2004. But after some 40 days of tapping phone calls the investigation stopped.
Now we have to remember that the main culprit was Juventus Turin. So maybe we could ask ourselves if the investigating judges saw that their own club was involved and that this was the main reason for them to stop their search? I don’t know this for sure and this is just a wild guess. But I think it is possible that a fan of a certain team would stop an investigation against the team he supports. We are dealing with human beings and their feelings and as in England the passion of the supporters is very high for their club. So the judges in Turin decided to stop their phone tapping and stop the investigation.
Alas for the crooks there were other judges in other parts of Italy who also wanted to start an investigation and who were not aligned to Turin. Luckily for honest people there were two Neapolitan judges with the names Filippo Beatrice and Giuseppe Narducci who took up the investigation and did an amazing job by showing the world what was running behind the scenes in Italian football.
The Neapolitan judges Beatrice and Narducci (I really like the sound of that second judge) together with the police of Rome investigated more than 30.000 phone calls. Thirty thousand! And several thousands were used in the trial that followed.
The judges came quickly to the conclusion that there was something going on behind the scenes. They found out that some people influenced the process of referee selection and also influenced the refs themselves by using some people who had power over the referees.
The main figure in this is Luciano Moggi, at the time the general manager of Juventus Turin. He was the leading figure in the whole thing.
Of course he didn’t work on his own. No he had people who helped him.
The most important people helping Moggi to set up his fraud system were Pierluigi Pairetto and Paolo Bergamo. Pairetto and Bergamo worked for the Italian football federation and were part of the Refereeing Commission and so could decide which ref would do which game. In the season 2004-2005 they managed to make sure that in 29 of the 38 games of Juventus the ref was appointed as Moggi wished.
Let me spell that out for you in other numbers : that is 76% of the games they played were given to refs of whom they thought would be more in favour of Juventus. In points this means that 87 points wore more or less given to refs of whom they thought would be favourable for Juventus.
So I think you can understand why the Italian Football Federation took the titles away from Juventus after finding out these facts.
To conclude this first article in this series I would like to just think of teams who are also record holders of titles in their country. I will link to my own country Belgium and mention Anderlecht who won the most titles and will point at similarities later on. I leave it up to you to think of the English team that has won most titles of course.
But by pointing at similarities later on you might see some patterns. Of course those patterns could be coincidence. Just as in Italy they first thought it was all coincidences that the same teams got the benefit of the decisions on a few occasions.
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The referee analysis is now available here.
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