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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Respect for the Dead

Last summer, just before the World Cup, an epic scandal rocked Italian football. It was dubbed the "Calciopoli" scandal, and the main protagonist was the director general of Juventus, Luciano Moggi. After a quick, by Italian standards, investigation, several clubs were docked points, and in the case of Juventus, demoted for the first time in their history to the Serie B. Moggi was banned for five years, and one referee, Massimmo De Santis, for 4 years initially, although I believe his sentence was later reduced by six months.

The cusp of the scandal involved Moggi wanting to exert control over whom officiated the matches of Juventus. Although many conversations were taped between him and Mr. Moggi, the referree designator, Paolo Bergamo, was cleared of any wrongdoing. He is the man who assigns officials to Serie A games. AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Reggina, Sampdoria, and Siena were also implicated in this scandal, although precise details were not forthcoming. Much discussion centered around Moggi and others who wanted certain refs to call their games.

Today, Mr. Bergamo unvieled a bomb of sorts in the Gazzetta dello Sport. Or in my opinion, an ill-advised salvo intended to slur the memory of one of Italy's greatest calcio legends: Giacinto Facchetti, President of Inter Milan.

“I hate to say it because of our friendship since the 1960s and his recent passing, but Facchetti called me more than anyone and Inter complained the most. He was always unhappy and I understood his irritation, as Inter struggled to win."

Inter Milan was awarded last year's Scudetto, even though Juventus won it on the pitch. Coach Roberto Mancini and owner Massimo Moratti said they were cleaner than the rest. Mr. Facchetti died in early September from pancreatic cancer. His name was never dragged in the mud during his life. Since he can no longer defend his good name, Mr. Bergamo's allegations are a mean-spirited attempt to sully an Inter and Azzurri legend. He did not have the courage to say these things while Mr. Facchetti was still alive.

By the way, I am a life-long supporter of Juventus.

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