Friday, July 28, 2006

Reflection: A brighter, cleaner & fairer calcio

Written by James Richardson - the face of Italian football on British TV since 1992.

It’s less than three months since those first reports of phone taps of Luciano Moggi’s conversations. In that time we’ve seen a system turned upside down, and changes that seemed inconceivable in early May. After the tribunal in Rome softened up the verdicts for Juve, Fiorentina, Lazio and Milan on appeal some people are suggesting that we’re back at the usual ‘whitewash’. I think they’re forgetting just how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Back in May, when the inquiry began, the idea that it would end with Italy’s most powerful and popular club relegated was almost impossible to get your head around. The evidence was there alright, but Juve in B? Still, that’s what we’ve got, and with a massive points penalty too – although 17 points may be less than the original 30, it’s still the biggest penalty package ever awarded.

Lazio and Fiorentina have had their relegations revoked, for unlike Juve and Milan they were guilty of talking to institutions, not referees and linesmen, but they’ll still face significant points deductions. Milan are the most puzzling case – the inquiry hinted they were up to plenty, but as the only evidence involved a man only loosely tied to the club they emerge almost undamaged (depending on UEFA’s Champions League decision). Lucky old Silvio.

Not everything has been resolved, admittedly. Apart from Milan, there’s the worrying sight of Luciano Moggi popping back up, emboldened by the appeals, to announce he’s “not done with football yet.” Juve too now talk of contesting the appeals verdict, after accepting less than a month ago that Serie B was a fair punishment. The likes of Moggi won’t go quietly, but they’ll find there’s no going back to the old ways.

Interim Federation boss Guido Rossi has pushed through calcio’s biggest set of changes ever, ending the reign of Franco Carraro as Italy’s FA chief (a huge step forward; Carraro and his cronies have presided over an incredible series of problems – doping, false passports, financial meltdown – without ever doing anything but the wishes of the big clubs), ending Adriano Galliani’s absurd double leadership of both Milan and the Football League, and, get this, even moving towards a new collective TV rights deal. In short it’s a brighter, cleaner and fairer calcio – and all in the space of just three months.

Congratulations to him. The next miracle, meanwhile, looks beyond even the powers of Professor Rossi. Serie A is due to kick-off again on the last weekend of August, but with a ‘second tier’ of clubs now facing the tribunal, and upcoming appeals from Lazio, Fiorentina and Juventus, and above all with calcio’s financial watchdog, the Covisoc, about to blow the whistle on several clubs, it looks unfeasible that the Federation can determine the top flight in such a short space of time. Mind you, they have surprised us before.

Courtesy of Bravo Football Italia


Post a Comment

<< Home