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July 2021

Calciopoli – Can corruption happen in the PL? – Part 3

By Walter Broeckx

After part 1 and part 2 which can be read when you click on the links I now want to talk more specific about the referees.

I have said on a number of occasions that the referee’s world is a closed world where pressure can be put on referees.

They will not openly say: make sure team X wins a game. This is something you can only do when you know the ref is on the inside. And completely on the inside.  But…

I have told you time and again that refs want to do the big games. And then it might come to a surprise that the one who was considered the best ref in the world for a long time was in fact a ref who didn’t do that many top games in Italy. Oh sure he did some but not as many as one could expect. The reason? Well the reason was that Moggi from Juventus thought that Colina was not “reliable”.

This is another way of saying that Colina was not bending over for pressure from the top guys in the referee association. So in fact Collina build his reputation mostly on doing top games in Europe and in world cups.  Now Collina was used in the appointment carousel but because he was considered a man with integrity he wasn’t the favourite ref for Moggi. No, Moggi wanted refs who were more bendable.

Police investigations revealed that for the game Juventus- AC Milan (which ended 0-0) Moggi called with the ref who did the game no less than 13 times. Could you imagine Wenger calling Dean some 13 times before a game? I don’t think Wenger even has Dean his number. And shouldn’t have it.

By the way there are strict rules for using your phone before and during a game for refs. You must shut your phone down before the game and then it has to stay that way till the end of that game. But investigations revealed how the fixers used untraceable (they thought but were wrong) foreign sim-cards to talk with referees.

A few examples of this are when Bergamo (one of the people who appointed the refs) wanted to make sure that he could get in touch with the 4th official during the Roma- Juventus game which ended in 1-2. He then instructed the secretary of the referee commission to contact  Marco Gabriele and the instruction was that his wife should give her phone to her husband so that Bergame could reach him during the game, and that he should use a foreign SIM card. This implies  that the 4th ref actually was considered to use his influence on the ref and the assistants on the field.  Juventus won the game thanks to an offside goal.

What will follow is an extract from a phone call made by Pairetto (referee appointer) and the referee Paolo Dondarini the ref who did the game Juventus-Sampdoria. This was a conversation the day before the game. Enjoy reading and certainly read between the lines.

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• Dondarini: Gigi? I am, Donda.

• Pairetto: Donda Hey, how are you?

• Dondarini: Am I disturbing you?

• Pairetto: No.

• Dondarini: Are you okay?

• Pairetto: Yes and you?

• Dondarini: Fine, Manfredi (Manfredi Martino, former secretary of the referee commission) just called me.

• Pairetto: Uhm …

• Dondarini: And he has asked me a few things.

• Pairetto: Ah, how about that!

• Dondarini: Uh, yeah, I know.

• Pairetto: Be sure that you don’t screw up on Sunday.

• Dondarini: Wednesday you mean tomorrow …

• Pairetto: Yes, Wednesday, you whistle a perfect match because you know there’s a lot at stake.

• Dondarini: Yes, they are special games.

• Pairetto: Exactly, exactly.

• Dondarini: Yes, yes, yes, no, it’s necessary …

• Pairetto: So …

• Dondarini: With fifty eyes wide open.

• Pairetto: What?

• Dondarini: With fifty eyes paying attention.

Pairetto: Ah, very good, and also to see things that are not there, occasionally …

• Dondarini: Yes.

• Pairetto: So that’s exactly what I tell you eh.

• Dondarini: Good.

• Pairetto: Look, I don’t need to explain it to you.

• Dondarini: No, no.

• Pairetto: I know you will whistle a very fine game.

• …..

This is clearly a conversation of two people who know what they want and the other knowing what they expect.

Can’t happen in England you might say? Well we don’t know. Do the police tap the phones of the refs and the referee appointers?

So what do we have now?

The general manager of the record0holding club in Italy using his “friends” to appoint the right refs for the games of his own team, using the “bad refs” to be appointed for his closest rivals. The people who appoint the refs act that way. And the media is used to cover things up.

But there is one little thing I would like to add. I have written articles where I have said that refs know who is in charge of football in their country. Some refs are fans of the leading team in the country. And other refs know that they have to give favours to the leading team in their country.

I have talked with former refs in the highest division in Belgium and they confirmed to me that giving a penalty against Anderlecht (record holding team in Belgium) is a bad career move. It can ruin your career as a ref. Of course not when an Anderlecht defender uses his hands to block a shot on the goal line. Then they can accept such a penalty. But a dodgy penalty against this team? Stay away from it or you will be punished and maybe you can forget your ref career.

Let me now use the words spoken by former Italian referee Angelo Bonfrisco.

In 2006 ex-referee Angelo Bonfrisco said some interesting words about the referees and the people who appoint the refs to the games: “In Italian football you learn to have respect and fear for the big clubs. You make your career with them and through their victories. ”

Please let that message sink in a bit I ask you. You make your career with them and through their victories. Refs know this. And I just said that this is the same in Belgium.

According to Bonfrisco  that is the message that  every time when the referees meet  in the sports centre in Coverciano will hear. Time and again this message is put in their heads. And who is telling that message to the referees? According to Bonfrisco and using his words:  “The teachers there are the two people who appoint the referees. Pierluigi Pairetto and Paolo Bergamo. ”

The pressure is put on the referees every week to make sure that the good guys win. And who are the good guys? Mostly teams who are record holders in winning trophies. This was the case in Italy. It is the case in Belgium. I cannot speak for other leagues but it might be the case it happens over there also.

And what about England? Manchester United getting no red cards in the whole season so far. Manchester United getting no penalties against in the whole season so far.

Of course it could be a coincidence…..

After reading all this are you really sure that there is nothing wrong with the referees in the PL?  Do you really think that the situation in Italy is only happening there. I’m not that sure. And the way the PGMOL acts like a secret organisation with no transparency at all. The way they act by not letting in referees from the South East or the London area in to their little world is raising my suspicion. And the fact that the record holding team seems to be never on the receiving end of red cards and penalties raises even more suspicion.

In general most refs are smart. They know what to do even without being told what to do. They only want to help their own career. And if the media let them off the hook when they make a mistake in favour of a certain team…. How convenient and what a coincidence.

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37 comments to Calciopoli – Can corruption happen in the PL? – Part 3

  • ArsenalAndrew

    Brilliant stuff.

    As usual.

  • @babakrdaemi

    I am convinced we will ave a similar story break out in England one day.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsene writes a book that highlights his fears.

    Its an amazing feat that Fergie has pulled off, truly remarkable. As many league titles as our entire history.

    However, there is clear reason to suspect foul play in our league.

    Its our homo-genic nature that we are grand and honest that will make this so hard to expose. However, I am convinced there is something wrong with our league.

    When I read this I feel like someone has shown me what it is.

    Why doesn’t a ref come out and say I wouldn’t send a player off at OT, In fear for my job.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great stuff. The refs you mention and their words make sense of what we see week in week out in this league. And we all know who the main beneficiary is. Great timing for this article as well, with the debate raging on the applauding Utd thread. The answer for us, and I am sure the AAA will agree, bring back David Dein, a true master of some of the dark arts. Like him or loath him, Losing him really was not a good move. Like all these things, it will all come out in the wash one day. The people covering this may want to earn money from writing, loyalties can change or become divided, people can be replaced by those not so easy to corrupt, instigators can retire, things get exposed. It will not last forever, it is only a matter of time before the someone becomes suspicious of the likes of the pgmol and brings them to account. If football matches are pre determined and are shown to be so in widespread cases, the sport will die, powerful people will lose millions. Does seem like the refs are the weak link, and weak links are just that.

  • Yassin

    @ mandy dodd

    I Dont agree, cause it winter be exposed, its so ibvious that every one can see it in every arsenal game, every manure game, still people, our very own fans, who should already be biased to their Arsenal , still come here and argue about we are deluded no matter what damn proof and statistics walter and co. give them,..

    I hope all those are exposed and jailed, even hanged, but all this i dont believe it will

  • Yassin

    ***** wont nit winter sorry, the dictionary on the phone

  • Mandy Dodd

    Lots of things are getting exposed Yassin, there was a time when people in general and the man himself thought lance Armstrong was untouchable, but ultimately, he pissed off too many people who turned. Yes, drug doping is easier to prove than influencing refs. Even if it takes time to expose, the pgmol may eventually have to curtail their activity in fear of exposure. Lets face it, they arent even subtle. There would be a hell of a lot of money to make for a clever investigative journalist on this one. I mentioned David dein, but Ivan is gaining some lofty positions in the game himself, I hope he is using his influence to get a more fair deal from these refs.

  • alex

    Thought you come with some evidence.

    Sorry as it stands is only speculation in the EPL.

  • BuffonNumeroUno

    Collina didn’t referee big games? That’s a joke isn’t it? If that was the case, why was he refereeing the crucial Milan-Juventus game that season? Moggi (Who you claim was picking referees for every game) let him referee Juventus 5 times that season, including that Milan game as well as other big rival clashes with Fiorentina and Roma. And that’s just Juventus games. 4 Coppa Italia finals, 5 Milan derbies, 2 Rome derbies, 5 times Milan-Roma, 5 times Inter-Roma. I could go on.

    What about the end of the 1999-2000 season? Collina makes Juve play on a waterlogged pitch in Perugia. Perugia win the game in impossible conditions, and Lazio win the title. Collina admits years later he’s a Lazio fan! And don’t forget that Collina was forced into retirement by a questionable connection to Milan.

    I’m not looking to discredit Collina in any way, but he was seen as being anti-Juventus, but he was the only referee to award Juve more than one penalty in 04-05, and Juve won 4 out of 5 with him in charge that season. Confusing? Oh yes.

    I’ll confuse matters even more. Juve’s win record with Moggi friendly referees was 58.33%. Juve’s win record with non-Moggi friendly referees was 85.71%. I’ve defined Moggi friendly referees as being those accused in the scandal, even if no further action was taken.

    More? Only 2 opposition players were sent off against Juventus in the league that season, the lowest in the league.

    And I know you say you’re not targeting Juventus, but every time you produce one of these articles, I will keep posting so I can put across the other side, and show that things were not as lazy and clear-cut as “Moggi cheated and paid every referee”. Those accusations represent a very small part of a huge scandal that affected the whole league. Juventus are pushing for over £400m in compensation (unlikely admittedly), and the handing back of the 2 “stolen” Scudetti.

  • Tasos


    “And what about England? Manchester United getting no red cards in the whole season so far. Manchester United getting no penalties against in the whole season so far”.

    In fact Man Utd are the ONLY team yet to concede a penalty this term.

    Man City have been Man Utd’s main rivals for two seasons now. During this period Man City had been awarded just one single penalty away from Etihad Stadium and that came at The Emirates via our nemesis Mike Dean. Arsenal themselves went a whole campaign without being awarded a penalty at Emirates Stadium during 2011/12.

    Whilst Man City have received 3 red cards so far this campaign. Chelsea, who threatened to challenge early this season, have received only 2 red cards. Coincidentally both cards came in the same match against, surprise surprise, Man Utd.

    Can corruption happen in the PL?

    It would be naive to think otherwise.

  • Mandy Dodd

    At present, we do not know if it is corruption, regional bias, supporters of a team in high places, fear of a certain manager or career enhancement, but something is certainly going on in the EPL.

  • Anaekwe patrick

    You have sincerely touched the problem with the EPL. I wonder why it is taken centuries for people to dictate this fact that referees are kill joy and are being used to achieve the objective of the powers that be in the EPL. Mr Webb is one such referee. Incidentally, his last officiating this season in the match involving Arsenal, his performance was above average, why? There is already established point gap between Man United and Arsenal. Webb is either a fan of Man United or that he is being used.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Like I said in the first article Moggi only got his wish 29 games. So still 9 games he had to settle for a less desirable ref. Maybe that game you mention was one of those 9 games.

    About the win % you are right. It didn’t work all the time. And in some cases it backfired. Because a bad bounce of the ball can change the outcome of a game and sometimes the ref is helpless about it. But that doesn’t matter in fact.
    What matters is that behind the scenes clubs (yes other clubs were involved but as I said my intention is not to make the whole calciopoli process again but to show possible similarities with situations in the PL) were trying to influence the ref selection process for their own benefit.

    THAT is the whole thing. THAT is the scandal behind it.

    There should be no pressure from clubs on the persons who appoint the referees. No pressure from clubs on the persons who make TV on what to show or even on how to show it to cover things up. There should be no agreement to paint some refs black and some white because a club likes those refs (or was it the other way round?). There should be no direct contact with the refs during games by using others peoples phones. Why would that be necessary unless it is to try to influence some things?

    We see similar things happening in the PL. And then we wonder….together with our analysis of the refs in the last two seasons. Together with the analysis of the refs on our sister site… and then we wonder about some things and see things I had heard of before in Calciopoli.

    The least of my worries is Juventus or football in Italy. The only thing I worry about is the PL and how I might be watching a league that doesn’t have a level playing field. That is my main worry.

    Maybe it is not funny to be a fan of Juventus and have their name mentioned in such cases. But for any complaints I would suggest you direct them to the people like Moggi. They have tried to influence the system and that is for me a crime. A crime committed by him and by the others.

  • AL

    It is happening in the premiership, all the stats and evidence to suggest it is has been published on here, and what’s missing only is a smoking gun. Corruption is rife here. I’m almost off football to be honest, I don’t think I will watch any live games or attend any matches once this season is concluded. I mean what’s the point of sitting on the edge of the seat willing one’s team on in a match whose result is already ‘known’? I feel stupid to be doing that. Call me a fool if you will(and it feels that way, honestly), but I subscribe to the full sky sports package, travelled to SA for the world cup, and was hoping to go Brazil next year, it feels like wasted money, and it is. I feel sorry for my son who hopes one day to be playing in some kind of league. How do I tell him not to bother, that its rigged? He’s the main reason I have been wasting my money as pointed above, but I’d now rather waste it on a sport like formula one or something. We need our game back. AW was right, football sold its soul to the devil.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Apart from Arsenal games I don’t watch games live any more. I only watch Arsenal games because I love Arsenal. But the other games in the PL I watch are the ones when I do a review for the referee decisions website. A few years ago I would watch each game live when I could. My wife doesn’t complain about it.

    The same for the CL. I don’t watch it any more apart from Arsenal games. Last night I didn’t see the trashing of Barceloanus at all. When I went to the website of my local newspaper I saw the score with some 10 mins to go. I then was curious to see if Cesc and Song were playing in their usual position (central bench and defensive bench) and they were.

    I only heard that Kassai refused to send off a Barceloanus player even after throwing the ball in the face of a Bayern player (could be completely wrong but as said I didn’t see it at all) and then look at what I said in these articles: a ref knows who to protect. Kassai knows this all too well.

    My wife doesn’t complain about it at all 😉

  • Mandy Dodd

    Another issue, the giroud red card. Another arsenal blog this morning reminds us Vincent company had a red card rescinded recently because the cameras suggested he slipped into a tackle with wilshere. One rule for others…..another rule for us….again…..and at a vital time of the season.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mandy, oh and look we now by coincidence play MU…
    Fergies Association did another fine job for him.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Talking about referee decisions… the website has had severe technical problems (hard and software) but is not back on line and publishing reviews again.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, I do worry a bit about our striking options. As others have pointed out, those happy Giroud is out are either not Arsenal fans, or they are insane.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Problem is that the rumours about Podolski being injured and needing an operation at the end of the season are rather persistent and could explain why he is used very rare for the moment. He could play but can he give 100%?

  • AL

    Yes Walter, you’re right about watching the Arsenal games only. Thats what I try and do most times (if my son hasn’t got another match on on the telly). But even then I’m usually left seething with anger after some appaling decisions from the refs that I’m not sure I’m not doing myself some long term damage. The most painful thing is I know some bastard somewhere is laughing all the way to the bank at my expense(excuse the language).

    Giroud’s foul looked like a slip and was harsh, even the commentator on Sky said so. The FA should rescind it, but thats only wishful thinking I know. I agree it must have been playing on the ref’s mind subconciously that he should aid manure, why send off a player on such a minor offence in the last minute? Dont think he had even thought they could have the title wrapped up by the time we play them, therefore not needing his help.
    When i look at the number Theo was wringly flagged offside this season(at a huge cost to us), and then look at how the desserter has been allowed to score 4 offside goals at such a vital time, you just realise what we are up against. Not sure who said(think it was you Wlalter, yesterday?) that for us to win the league anytime soon we would have to play twice as good as manure unless some people have moved on from football… absolutely agree with that one.

  • AL

    When I look at the number of times Theo was wrongly**** flagged offisde

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes, that was me AL.

  • AL

    True, but it shoudn’t have to be the case Walter. Even a team thats just getting promoted to the league should believe they have a chance, or else why bother? Of course thyis is just rhetoric walter, not expecting you to provide the answers as I expect you, along with many others, are just as mystified by it all as I am. The whole spirit of competing is the idea that anyone can win, thats why cheating is bad for sport because it defeats that spirit. Doping, match-fixing, etc are all forms of cheating, and anyone found to be doing that should be banned. In other sports such as athletics, boxing, etc, any form of cheating results in a lengthy ban, and loss of any medals/titles won in the process. But in football this isn’t deemed necessary. Anyway, I rest my case, but I’ll vote with my wallet from now on.

  • AL

    Apologies for spelling your name incorrectly in the first instance Walter, and then with a lowercase w in another. Not intended, but maybe a result of the pent up frustrations I’m venting on the keyboard. Should proof read my rants before I post next time:)

  • finsbury

    Giroud’s appeal was chaired by the Manchester United club secretary John Alexander.

  • bob

    And, imo, you’ve just given a super litany of valid reasons not to perform the honour guard farce in the name of “football tradition”
    The guard of dishonour is what it’s meant to be.

  • Shard


    “central bench and defensive bench”


  • Mandy Dodd

    Amazing Finsbury, Utd really do have their finger in all pies.
    But maybe not surprising with how the game is run from the top, it appears one of the bribe inspectors appointed by FIFA has resigned…basically because they have completely ignored the key recommendations from this independant body set up to help them clean up their act.

    Surely it is time the big corporations withdraw any sponsorship associated with FIFA?

  • WalterBroeckx


    ah finally someone who found my brilliant joke 🙂 🙂 Well I thought it was…

  • BuffonNumeroUno

    Walter, you go on about Moggi talking to refs and influencing the referee selection, yet you have not provided proof this was happening. The referee selection process has been declared legitimate for the season in question. There was a random draw with some rules in place. This was done in front of journalists.

    No proof has been provided showing Moggi talking on the phone to referees. In 7 years I’ve not seen a call. The Swiss sim card theory got thrown around when proof wasn’t there, but that’s been thrown out by the courts as well.

    I’m not angry at Moggi, or you for that matter. I’m angry at Massimo Moratti, Guido Rossi, Marco Tronchetti Provera (Telecom Italia boss in 2006), and even John Elkann (Fiat chairman). The first 3 and others conspired to create Calciopoli and bury the most crucial evidence. Elkann and the new Juve directors at the time didn’t do anywhere near enough to stop it. I’m also angry at the way some journalists have conveniently ignored all the new evidence.

    Moggi’s main fault was his arrogance, and that tripped him up in the end. He was exceptionally good at his job. He’d worked in football for numerous successful clubs for decades, and knew football inside out. He had carried this Mafioso image around for years, but instead of being offended by it, he relished it. He was a man with no real power in Italian football. The likes of Galliani (Milan and Lega vice-president) and Moratti (Telecom sponsors all football in Italy, and they were very close to Inter) held all the power.

    With the senior Agnelli’s all sadly passed away, Juve were vulnerable, as was Moggi. As the younger Agnelli’s disputed, Juve were left without a senior figurehead, and Moggi was a sitting duck. In the end the whole Calciopoli plan to target Moggi and Juventus worked in the favour of some on the Juventus side, and the club was sent to Serie B without putting up enough fight.

    If Moggi had real power, he would never have been able to be brought down by such questionable and unreliable evidence. He’s not a high ranking businessman with huge economical power, just an extremely skilled (and arrogant) former football director.

    Away from Moggi, I look forward to your conclusion as someone interested in English football. I just hope reading through all this dragged up mud again will be worth the wait.

  • Shard


    I’m sure other found it brilliant too, but didn’t point it out because they take your brilliance for granted.. Now you know how it feels to be Wenger 🙂

  • Stuart

    Walter, I’m loving this series. The sad fact is I believe you are only scratching the surface.

  • AL

    Yes, guard of dishonour:) Sorry about the rambling though, tends to happen when I feel cheated.

  • bob

    What do you make of BuffoonNumeroUno’s analysis? As I read it,
    he’s making a structural analysis, based on where power is exercised over the league itself!

    Who are these men that you list as being the prime movers of the Scandal? What positions did they hold at the time? What were their companies?

  • Sav from Australia


    Another briliant work, you are an inspiration!

    I have heard that Juventus claim they were set up. To be honest, I did not watch the football matches, so I cannot say with certainty an opinion, one way or another. But fair play to you for a structured argument. In regards to the EPL, Man Utd cheat with great gusto, with referees, FA and media all shoring up their power.

    @Al, re: promoted teams winning the league
    Wouldn’t that be nice? I would much prefer that sort of league, where everyone has a chance.

  • Shard


    Oh for the days when Ipswich came up and finished 5th 🙂

    Seriously though, the only league I’ve seen come close to that is the Bundesliga, although Bayern Munich dominate there on account of their huge income.

  • BuffonNumeroUno

    Bob, It’s a very long story, but I’ll try to be brief. As of 2006 Inter hadn’t won the league since 1989. In that time Milan and Juve had won most of the titles, with others such as Roma, Lazio and even Sampdoria winning too.

    Massimo Moratti took over Inter, the club his father once owned in 1995, and threw huge sums of money at them (A little like Abramovich has with Chelsea). The club though has been chaotically run for most of this time, signing big name players, whilst ignoring key areas and wasting a lot of money on average players. For example the very talented, but mostly not that great Alvaro Recoba was once the world’s highest paid footballer. They also changed coach too often.

    Inter would often blame referees for their failings, and would aim accusations at Moggi. Sometimes of course they were unlucky with decisions, but at other times they got lucky. The same for Juve, the same for all clubs.

    Moratti also sat on the board of Telecom Italia (Italy’s equivalent of BT in Britain), and at some point started spying on pretty much everyone except his own club by tapping their calls. Of course Inter employees would appear on calls when they were speaking to someone who was tapped though.

    Check that link which refers to a case where Christian Vieri (Then Inter’s star striker) successfully sued Moratti for spying. Vieri has also gone on record as saying Moratti created Calciopoli, and that Telecom paid 30% of Inter’s contracts.

    Also sharing the boards at Inter, Telecom and Pirelli with Moratti is Marco Tronchetti Provera, who was Telecom boss at the time of the scandal. Then there’s Guido Rossi, who took temporary charge of the FIGC when most of the key figures resigned after Calciopoli broke. He was once vice president at Inter, and took over at Telecom after original sporting trial. One final point on Telecom is that they sponsor all football competitions in Italy through their TIM brand. TIM stands for Telecom Italia Mobile.

    The newspaper which revealed a lot of the wiretaps is the Milan based Gazzetta Dello Sport. Again, there’s links with Inter here, as detailed in the link below this paragraph. In addition to that lot, don’t forget Galliani (Milan’s vice president) was the league’s president at the time, and Berlusconi was prime minister, and is one of the most important businessmen in Italy. Berlusconi would have had huge influence of private and public media. Convenient as the FIGC declared Milan guilty of sporting fraud in 2011, something which didn’t happen to any club in 2006. I am keen to point out though that Milan are in no way behind the creation of this scandal.

    One final name to throw in is Luca di Montezemolo, who is best known as being Ferrari F1 president. Around this time Telecom sponsored Ferrari for around $75m I think. Montezemolo was thanked by somebody for persuading Juve to drop the final appeal which was rumoured to have been a very strong case. The connection is that Fiat owns both Juve and Ferrari, and Montezemolo was the president of Fiat at the time, and may have put pressure on Juve’s management for his own gain.

    Long I know, but I don’t just want to give a list of names without any further information.

    Thanks for asking the question, and showing an interest in the other side of the story, something too many have sadly refused to do.