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October 2020

Calciopoli – Could it happen in the Premier League? – Part 1

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.

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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.

Recent posts

The referee analysis is now available here.


The books…

The sites from the same team…

18 comments to Calciopoli – Could it happen in the Premier League? – Part 1

  • Mandy Dodd

    superb article. There is a real danger in our league or any other for that matter. Couldn’t happen here? The banks, MPs, the Press, Jimmy Saville OBE, Hillsborough, a son of a Prime Minister being knighted despite a few interesting financial issues and involvement in an attempted coup in Africa……all different issues, but it happens. I suppose the good thing is that some of these issues are now being exposed.

  • Doanythingformoney

    I never realised it was quite that bad Walter. But why not here indeed? Where are our public spirited judges when you need them? Common Lord Whatsit- the search is on for the English ‘Moggi!

  • ClockEndRider

    Untold way out in front as usual. Nice work Walter. Keep it up chaps.

  • Wow, looks like a certain team on planet mars have the same patterns but who cares on planet mars there are no judges they have drunkards only. They have no police but they have zombies and when the chief allien blows hot the small alliens quake in there panties oh no they have no panties they have rileyshit.

  • BuffonNumeroUno

    You claim to know all about Calciopoli, and then write a load of lies. The truth is far more complex than you make out. Moggi was portrayed as being the some sort of mafia boss at the time, so when these transcripts came out, it all seemed believable. But they were looking through the keyhole, and so weren’t looking at the whole picture.

    30,000 transcripts is a lot. But there was many times that which mysteriously disappeared. Why? Because if they were shown in court they’d have cleared Moggi, and therefore cleared Juventus. They’d have also dropped Inter deep in it. The phones were tapped by Telecom Italia, then run by an Inter director, with Inter’s president also sitting on the board. The trial itself was run by ex-Inter vice president Guido Rossi.

    The transcripts were released by a Milan based newspaper, which had a fractious relationship with Juventus at the time. Inter were also the only major side apart from Roma to avoid any involvement.

    Why would the hidden transcripts clear Juve? Because it was made out that Moggi had an exclusive relationship with Paolo Bergamo. Of the hidden calls have shown what Bergamo insisted all along, that he spoke with every club, none more so than Inter.

    The FIGC concluded its investigation into the new calls, and declared that Inter, Milan and Livorno were all guilty of sporting fraud, which was punishable by demotion. But they then said that because of the statute of limitations that none of those sides could be punished. It’s very important to point out that Juventus were CLEARED of sporting fraud in 2006. The decision to send them down was against the FIGC’s own rules, as the club was only guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct (Moggi’s “exclusive” working relationship with Bergamo).

    There’s a lot I’ve missed, but for further reading go to the link below.

  • Matt Clarke

    Nice one Walter.
    Keep the draft – with a few name changes it could well do as a breaking news story here.

  • Super Singh

    Football neuterals have noticed that there isn’t a level playing field in the Premiership? Unfortunately the Football Association has no credibility to be squeaky clean or competant enough to investigate or administer just or fair penalties? Guess they are paper tigers?

  • gouresh

    Hell this left me high & dry. Dying to read the next articles. I bet my bottom that it will take an accidentally phone call to bring out the curruption between manure & the refs.

  • bob

    To analyze and draw parallels, readers need examples. Will you be providing some specific examples of the relevant patterns of: “unjustified penalties were given, strange cards were handed out and many questionable decisions were made”?

  • bob

    Off topic, but:
    I can’t find “The Breakdown” – Adrian Clarke’s post-match analysis any more on Arsenal Player. Vanished. Like never there, dudes. Someone please double check this alien abduction and confirm or deny, please. I thought it/he was informative, upbeat, clear-minded, truthful and constructive. Light years beyond anything Robson ever offered, and now it appears he’s gone, vanished without a trace. A bit disturbing, methinks. Anyone?

  • Rufusstan

    Bob, do you mean at all of them?, Or just the Everton game? If the latter, I agree, nothing there.

    I you mean at all, I always navigate Arsenal player match by match (the whole website drives me nuts), and the Norwich and others are there (went back as far as Spurs) in the match menus.

    Had a quick check on his twitter feed — Proper gooner by the way, interesting to see someone tweeting during the game what I was shouting at the screen Tuesday. Sorry, anyway from that it seems he does one breakdown a week, so none for the Everton game but can see no reason he wont be back for Fulham.

    By the way Bob, thanks for flagging it up, I regularly log in for the highlights so I don’t have to watch MOTD. Equally, the interviews and occasionally bits of the match, but I’d never noticed his stuff. — I think like you I had avoided any Analysis pieces after being traumatized by Robson’s brand of treachery.

    Hope it helps.

  • Rufusstan

    On topic, the fact that it has happened elsewhere is not an implication that it can/is happening here.

    Sadly for me as in all these things it comes down to the old adage: justice needs to be done, and to be seen to be done.

    When these things are done behind closed doors (and by one man?), the system is open to the suggestion of something like Calciopoli happening. That of course does not mean it IS happening, but in things like this the mere suggestion of impropriety is enough.

  • bob

    Cheers, I’m relieved. But yeah, it’s been a longish time since the Everton it seems, and he’s a good bloke, critical and positive, really winning combination. And likewise, I wish they’d make the site user friendlier.

  • Shard


    Firstly, perhaps you should let Walter finish his series before throwing about accusations. Secondly, you can hardly blame him for ‘lies’ as that is the generally accepted truth.

    However, thank you for sharing that site, and an alternative version of events of Calciopoli. I’m yet to examine the evidence put forward there, although I had a quick read.

    Maybe Juventus were set up. Maybe they indulged in wrong doing like everyone else and just happened to be the only one punished. Maybe they just did what they are accused of. But in any case, the gist of this article here is not to paint Juventus as guilty or evil. Rather, to look at Calciopoli and see what we can deduce from it as to how football is run, and how it is open to manipulation.

    In any version of events, including the one you put forward, it is clear that football (and justice, and the media) were manipulated. It doesn’t really matter by whom (although of course you feel it more acutely than most), rather what matters is how (and what can be done to stop/prevent it happening)

    So thank you for adding to the debate, but please refrain from throwing about accusations, especially if you really want to be heard.

  • Sav from Australia

    Brilliant Walter! Brilliant Untold!

  • BuffonNumeroUno

    Shard, I’m not looking for trouble. I came in strongly, but the contents of this article made me angry. I don’t blame the average person for not knowing or understanding Calciopoli. I do though think that anybody covering it in this way should look at all sides of the debate.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Perhaps waiting till the whole series is finishes is a wiser thing to do.
    Listen I know that Juventus was not the only team in behaving in that manner. But M? oggi was let me say rather a main character. I think you will know that the media in Italy referred to it as Moggipoli.

    We are not here to make the process of Juventus but to give a resumé of Calciopoli for our readers and then see if the same thing could happen in the PL in England was the main thing. That is what you should keep in mind.

    To be honest I couldn’t give a f*ck on who it was. Now it came out and Juventus was one the main teams involved. If it would have been Cagliari I would have written the same thing but with another name. This is not a dig against Juventus (I couldn’t really care about them as I have no real feeling towards them – good or bad).

    I think others have written far better about calciopoli and I am fully aware that these articles are not enough to tell the complete truth.

    If you stay with us till the end you will understand the real meaning of this series.

  • BuffonNumeroUno

    The scandal is mostly referred to as Calciopoli, not Moggiopoli. It is often referred to as Farsopoli by Juventus fans, because it was a farce.

    I’m not disputing Moggi is the main character in it. He was the one who was either the head of the system, or set up, depending on your viewpoint.

    For the record, I don’t believe anyone was match fixing in this scandal. Teams in Italy put pressure on referees all the time, mostly in the media, and also on the pitch. That’s actually true of every football league. The refereeing designators were too close to all the clubs. A lot of the calls come across as too “matey”, rather than being between the heads of a league authority, and members of the clubs who fall under their jurisdiction.

    With regards to the point of your series, I don’t believe there’s anything illicit with English referees. If there was there’s a couple of refs I’d suspect of being involved in something, but I have no proof apart from regular incompetence in their performance.