Milan were centrally involved in the bribing of referees (the Calciopoli scandal) in Itlay and managed to get away with just a little points deduction.
That really is enough to have the club kicked out of European football for quite a few years, but no, they are still there, and still doing their stuff.
To be fair I should add that AC Milan were originally thrown out of the 2006/7 Champions League as a result of their corruption but that awfully nice Mr Berlusconi used radio, TV and his position in society to get them reinstated. And would you know, they went on to win the thing that season. You can almost see them waving a banner saying “no referee was bribed during the winning of this trophy.”
Now we find that their president and owner (Berlusconi) was involved personally in paying a £400,000 bribe to David Mills, the husband of the Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell.
This time, one might think, someone has to do something. The club is caught bribing the refs, and the owner is caught a second time around on a second bribe. But no, nothing.
Berlusconi has been given immunity from prosecution by the Italian parliament, and so legally is not guilty, even though the court said he was. This is because Berlusconi also happens to own a lot of the country’s media, and is Prime Minister of Italy.
The questions we might now ask are:
1. Is Berlusconi a fit and proper man to run a football club. Clearly not – he bribes people in sport.
2. Is Milan a fit and proper football club. Clearly not – they bribe refs and their owner bribes other people in sport.
The fact that Milan are still playing in Europe shows that there is every chance that the European Cup is fixed. Quite probably the Italian league still is as well, but I don’t really know on that one.
But to believe that the Champions League in which Arsenal play is not fixed one has to believe that somewhere within organisations like AC Milan there is someone saying, “yes I know we bribed refs, and I know our owner is guilty of corruption in other areas, but we don’t try and fix refs in the Champions League. That would not be fair. I know we weedled our way back in after we were thrown out and then we won it, but that is because we are a jolly good team.”
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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