Monday, May 29, 2006

Rossi: No Calciopoli whitewash

New FIGC Commissioner Guido Rossi assures the Calciopoli scandal will hit boiling point in 10 days and “justice won’t stop for anything”.

As new telephone wiretaps come to light every day and more names are implicated in the wide-ranging investigation into alleged match-fixing, collusion with referees, illegal betting and pressure on Coaches to pick players assisted by super-agency GEA, there are increasing fears that the scandal will be too large to take any decisive action.

“This is the toughest moment of the investigation, but after the frenetic next 10 days, we’ll reach the most important point,” explained the former judge who has been brought in as an emergency chief of the FA.

“We must go deep, very deep. There was almost nothing working the way it should’ve in this system. Some say there’ll be a whitewash at the end of this? I feel like making a joke about that, but I don’t want to create new enemies for myself. Let’s just say I exclude the possibility of a whitewash.”

If some of the allegations are confirmed, Juventus and other clubs could see points docked, titles stripped or even relegation into Serie B.

“The sports justice system will decide who is in and who is out. It will not stop in the face of anything or anyone,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “I believe that people should lead by example, as sporting behaviour becomes a virtuous cycle that in the end contaminates everyone in a positive sense and wipes out traces of bad behaviour.”

The defence put forward by Juve players Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluca Zambrotta this week has been to suggest that it was the system at fault, one that everyone used to their own advantage, rather than former director general Luciano Moggi hijacking the football world.

They also suggested that it would be “an injustice” for Juventus to see the last two Scudetto titles revoked, as the players are not implicated in the scandal.

“Was I angry at Cannavaro and Zambrotta? What do you think?” smiled Rossi. “They’ll change their minds too, you’ll see.”

This is not the first scandal to have hit calcio, but it is by far the biggest, and the FIGC Commissioner knows the consequences could be far-reaching.

“It has to be clear to everyone that this affair has enormous significance for the country, because it affects the behaviour of 40 million people who follow this sport. While corruption only involves elite sectors like banks and financial institutions, the newspapers take it off the front pages after around 10 days, but football is on everyone’s lips. You can feel people’s intense desire not to be conned. They want to sit down and enjoy the sport once more without being cheated. The important thing now is to stay close to the Italy squad and the Azzurri must help me with their behaviour.”

Fiorentina plead innocence
Fiorentina owner Diego della Valle told magistrates that his club is the "victim" of the corrupt soccer system they are uncovering and not a part of it.

Lazio hit amid probe lull
Lazio were hit by allegations of financial misconduct amid a general lull in the Calciopoli scandal. Their President, Claudio Lotito, and the club's second-biggest shareholder Roberto Mezzaroma were placed under investigation.


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