Fiorentina point to ‘invisible force’
“We saw an unquantifiable but powerful force that blocked everything going in another direction. It was a force that isolated whoever dared to point a finger of blame and ask questions on where we were heading,” Della Valle told television programme ‘Matrix’ last night.
The Naples public prosecutor yesterday confirmed that several clubs are under investigation for an alleged match fixing scandal and 19 games from 2004-05 in Serie A are particularly scrutinised for possible irregularities. The accusation is that referees were handpicked for these tasks to either favour a particular team or book players so they would be suspended for their next encounter with the clubs involved.
Della Valle hit the headlines last season when, upon Fiorentina’s return to Serie A, he attempted to push Adriano Galliani out of the Lega Calcio Presidency and repeatedly called for a complete shake-up of the football system. “I got the impression that we were considered the new boys who wanted to change everything, but that we’d soon get ‘thumped’ to teach us and anyone else who wanted to follow us a harsh lesson.”
The Viola only narrowly escaped relegation last season, as a final round win over Brescia and Parma’s 3-3 draw at Lecce sent the Gialloblu and Bologna into the play-off. “We have read the public prosecutor’s evidence and are perfectly relaxed,” insisted Della Valle. “I ask the magistrates to be swift and leave no stone unturned. A distinction must be made between those who are guilty, victims and implicated indirectly. I can’t wait to get in front of the judges to make my case.”
However, some of his other comments suggest there was an ‘invisible force’ pushing Fiorentina in certain unnamed directions. “There is a system of total power in football and we never bowed to that. Then we understood they wanted to knock us down just because we didn’t side with the system. That’s when we started listening to what they said without actually doing what they asked.”
As with most of this unseemly affair, the comments are kept deliberately vague, but the businessman does imply that this powerful cabal of calcio was responsible for Fiorentina’s poor results last term. “Someone wanted to show us what happens when you don’t toe the party line and the team was going straight to Serie B. We never bowed to pressure, as there are ideals we hold dearly. Those were worrying times and we were afraid of what was around us, but we decided to listen and then do our own thing anyway.”