Sunday, October 29, 2006

Zeman slams Juve discount

Zdenek Zeman reacted angrily to the Calciopoli appeal verdicts, claiming the Serie B season has been "falsified" by Juventus' discount.

The CONI Arbitration cut Juve’s penalty from 17 points to nine on Friday evening after accepting that the club had removed those directors responsible for the scandal.

“With the cuts to those penalties, the Serie B Championship has been falsified. The extra points handed to Juve prove that things will never change,” said the Lecce Coach.

In the top flight, Lazio’s 11-point handicap was reduced to just three, Fiorentina went from -19 to -15 and Milan’s eight-point penalty was confirmed.

“At least the Second Division is a very difficult League and Juve will have to struggle hard in any case to earn promotion.”

Zeman has always been the Bianconeri’s most outspoken critic, as his comments on the muscular development of some of their players prompted the long-running investigation into Juve’s medical staff.

He also suggested that disgraced former director general Luciano Moggi had some power over referees long before this summer’s shock telephone interceptions revealed pressure on the authorities.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Livid Viola consider civil action

Fiorentina insist they are innocent of the Calciopoli charges and hinted at a new appeal to the TAR tribunal.

The club was hoping for a substantial discount on its 19-point penalty, but with only four points shaved off that total, there was a mixed reaction to last night’s CONI Arbitration verdict.

“Fiorentina reaffirm that the club has never committed any sporting fraud and confirm its very critical position against a decision that, once again, bases its judgement on presumptions without objective evidence,” read a statement.

The Arbitration knocked their handicap down to –15 and cleared patron Diego Della Valle of the ‘sporting fraud’ charge, but they remain the club with the heaviest penalty apart from demoted Juventus.

“We are very disappointed at seeing our request for a trial based on an analysis of the facts, without preconceived ideas or theories, go totally ignored,” continued the Press release. “Even stronger is our sensation that the need to sustain an accusatory line, one that has been proved totally unfounded in several courts now, took precedence over justice.”

The statement concludes with a warning that the legal battle is not over, as Fiorentina are now likely to lodge a new appeal in the civil courts via the TAR tribunal.

“Fiorentina are examining the content of the Arbitration’s report to decide how best to defend the club, the directors and its shareholders.”

Viola director of sport Pantaleo Corvino tried to calm the situation and focus his players on Sunday’s tough match against leaders Palermo.

“This is a verdict I do not feel like commenting on. We must react. At this moment in time, Fiorentina need to find more unity so that we can continue to work the way we have since the start of the season,” said the transfer guru. “The squad and Coach Cesare Prandelli showed great professionalism and confidence in the project laid out by the directors and will continue their work. You’ll see we’ll emerge from this stronger than ever.”

Juve usher in new era

The Calciopoli discounts have put Juventus back in the promotion race and President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli sees this as the start of a new era for the club.

“I have always said I expected a substantial discount, even if I never quantified the number of points I envisaged. I think that Juve can consider themselves relatively satisfied with the extra eight points, seeing as rumours over the past few days had suggested something less,” noted Cobolli Gigli.

In the summer the trial demoted Juventus to Serie B with a 30-point penalty. It was reduced to 17 on appeal and has now been cut to just nine in CONI Arbitration, so the Bianconeri are propelled up the table and back into the race for automatic promotion.

“Today we end a chapter in Juve’s history and from tomorrow will begin a new adventure. Our objective has always remained the same, though – to be in Serie A next season.”

Lotito demands clarity

Lazio President Claudio Lotito doesn’t consider their penalty reduction to three points to be “a complete victory”.

The club was originally demoted to Serie B as part of the scandal this summer, only to have their top flight status restored with an 11-point handicap. That has now been slashed to just three points after last night’s CONI Arbitration verdict.

“It is not a complete victory, as I think the truth of the matter has not been entirely clarified yet, but I do accept the Arbitration’s verdict,” said patron Lotito.

“I hope that a similar attitude can be taken towards my personal appeal against my ban.”

Lotito was accused of trying to put pressure on the authorities and referees so that they would favour the Rome club – allegations he has always denied.

The Biancocelesti’s legal team was also relatively content with the outcome, although they argued that stripping the club of its UEFA Cup place for this season was punishment enough.

“At the start of the tournament we thought this team would face a fight just to avoid relegation, but now things have changed,” said Gianmichele Gentile. “The players can focus on their performances and winning back their place in Europe.”

Friday, October 27, 2006

Punishment reduced for trio

Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina have had their Calciopoli penalties reduced, but Milan remain with an eight-point handicap.

Juve and Lazio had the biggest discount, as both have had eight points handed back to them after tonight’s verdicts from the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) Court of Arbitration. Fiorentina were hoping for a substantial discount on their original 19-point penalty, but it has merely been cut to -15.

Milan’s appeal failed, as their eight-point handicap will stand for the 2006-07 campaign.

This means that the current Serie A table now has Lazio level with Milan on seven points and Fiorentina on 0 ahead of the Round 9 fixtures this weekend. In Serie B, Juventus leapfrog up to 10 points after their seven games.

The clubs lodged their appeals in front of the commission on October 11 and 12, but a decision was only formally announced this evening.

The original trial had inflicted more severe punishments on the sides, as Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio were demoted to Serie B with penalties of 30, 12 and seven points respectively. Milan stayed in the top flight with a 15-point penalty. The quartet were also kicked out of European competitions.

These verdicts were cut on appeal so that only Juve remained in the Second Division with a 17-point penalty. Fiorentina and Lazio returned to Serie A, starting from -19 and -11, while Milan went back into the Champions League through the preliminary round and began the campaign from -8 points.

This could well be the final act in the scandal that has dragged on since the end of last season, amid wiretapping, match-fixing allegations and claims of pressure put on referees to favour certain sides.

Yet there may be more on the horizon, as clubs still unhappy with their lot could in theory appeal to the TAR tribunal. As it is outside the jurisdiction of the sporting courts, this civil action would infuriate the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and might earn new penalties for the sides involved. FIFA have already warned the clubs that if they go outside of the sporting courts, they should expect further punishments from the world's governing body.

CONI, the highest level of the sports justice system in Italy, also decided to annull the planned bans on playing home games, translating that into a cash sum. The proceeds from the first Milan and Juventus matches of the current campaign must be handed over to the Federation. Lazio will do the same with their first two games, while for Fiorentina the penalty is three home gates

Reggina and Serie B minnows Arezzo were also punished in the second wave of trials and started the campaign on -15 and -6 points respectively, but their cases will be examined in November.

Fiorentina were left irritated by tonight's outcome, as their 19-point penalty was cut by just four points. “Fiorentina and Juve were the teams most penalised by the original trials, now we have to see what exactly happened in this appeal, but I can say we certainly deserved a bigger discount,” said ex-Viola legend Giancarlo Antognoni.

The Viola are the only side likely to pursue their legal battle through the TAR civil courts. “It doesn’t seem as if four points are a lot in the grand scheme of things. Will we go to the TAR? I don’t know, you’d have to ask Diego Della Valle.”

Juventus claim the ulterior discount proves the club’s “willingness to promote the values of sporting behaviour.” This evening's reduction to just nine points puts them soundly back in the Serie B promotion race.

“Juventus accept the sentence handed out by the CONI Arbitration commission, which recognises at least in part the enormous effort and spirit of sacrifice shown by the club to renew its infrastructure and promote the values of sporting behaviour in favour of the entire football community,” read a statement.

The Bianconeri had argued that they were the only club in the scandal to take firm action in removing the directors accused of putting pressure on referees and the authorities to favour certain teams. The famous ‘Triade’ of Luciano Moggi, Roberto Bettega and Antonio Giraudo were removed from the Turin outfit.

The reduction of Juve’s handicap has leapfrogged them up to 12th place on 10 points – just eight behind leaders Genoa with a game in hand. The Bianconeri will play Frosinone tomorrow afternoon, face Brescia on Wednesday night and then travel to Napoli on Monday with renewed confidence. So far this season Didier Deschamps’ men have drawn one and won their last six on the trot.

Milan were furious with the rejection of their CONI appeal. The Rossoneri were the only ones not to have their 8-point penalty lowered and they showed their anger in a terse statement released a few minutes after the announcement. “The decision of the CONI Arbitration does not deserve any comment from A.C. Milan.”

Lazio have seen their punishment go from Serie B to the top flight minus three points, but still aren’t fully satisfied. “We are partially satisfied,” said lawyer Giammichele Gentile. “Obviously we could have had more, but have already received quite a bit. As a lawyer, I am satisfied as a large part of our reasoning was accepted and acknowledged. However, we were aiming for the total cancellation of the penalty, because all the accusations were false.”

The club claimed that being stripped of a UEFA Cup place, which they had earned last season, was punishment enough.

CONI verdicts expected

The CONI Court of Arbitration is expected to hand out its verdicts later on Friday, as Juventus, Lazio, Fiorentina and Milan will discover whether their appeals to reduce their match-fixing punishments have been successful.

The four clubs were all punished by the Federal Court on July 25 for their part in the summer Calciopoli scandal and decided to present their appeal to the CONI Arbitration Court, the highest grade of justice in Italian sports.

The clubs agreed to keep the dispute within the realm of sporting justice after receiving “signals of willingness” from sports officials to conclude the situation fairly.

The final decision should be revealed in the evening after the stock market closes, although a CONI spokesman confirmed that there is no official information of when the verdicts will be handed out.

Juventus were stripped of their last two Serie A titles, demoted to Serie B and had a 30-point penalty reduced to 17 after a first appeal. Fiorentina, Lazio and Milan escaped relegation to the lower League but were docked points in Serie A; 19 for Fiorentina, 11 for Lazio and eight for Milan.

While CONI insists nothing has been decided in advance, speculation in the La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper says that Juve will be given back seven points. Likewise, Lazio, who were deducted 30 points from last season's Serie A total and missed out on a place in the UEFA Cup this campaign, are also likely to be given back seven points.
According to the paper, CONI will be less forgiving with Fiorentina and AC Milan.

Reggina were also punished in the second wave of trials and started the campaign on -15, but that case will be examined in November. Serie B minnows Arezzo started with a 6-point deduction.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Juve lawyer: We deserved C!

Juventus lawyer Cesare Zaccone believes that the Turin giants were fortunate to escape being demoted to Serie C for their part in Calciopoli scandal.

The Old Lady’s board held an intense meeting in Turin this afternoon regarding the relegation of the team and their financial problems. President Cobolli Gigli was present, as well as chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc, Zaccone and all the minor shareholders of the team.

The Bianconeri’s board was attacked by the shareholders for the club’s position in court during the trial. The shareholders believe that it was the wrong decision when they asked for Serie B, and admitted being guilty – but Zaccone clearly had a different take on things.

“Probably someone in this meeting doesn’t understand the situation we were in,” said the lawyer.

“The dossier that was given to us included so many infractions made by Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo, who were representing the club at the time. There wasn’t much to do considering their illegal actions, and Juventus was inevitably responding for them. Our situation was tragic, what could we do? We couldn’t defend Moggi or Giraudo. There were so many accusations against us and the obvious punishment was Serie C. So we asked for the Serie B without penalisation.”

Zaccone still thinks that Juventus made the best decision they could in the situation. “We deserved Serie C, so being put in Serie B was a good result – we did it to make Juve survive,” he concluded.

Cobolli Gigli had little to say after the meeting, apart from offering a statement of defiance. "I understand the shareholders, but we are trying our best to bring Juve back to the level we should be at," said the chief.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CONI verdicts delayed

The CONI Court of Arbitration is expected to hand out its verdicts early next week, according to the latest reports in Italy.

Juventus, Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina presented their appeal to the highest grade of justice in Italian sports in the hope of seeing the punishments for their part in the Calciopoli scandal reduced or even cancelled, agreeing to keep the dispute within the realm of sporting justice.

The clubs involved were heard on October 11/12 and the fresh verdicts were expected to be revealed after 15 days, but it now seems that the decisions will now be postponed to next week, possibly late on Tuesday evening, after the Italian stock market closes.

The FIGC relegated Juventus to Serie B, stripping them of the 2005 and 2006 titles, and gave them a 17-point penalty, while Fiorentina, Lazio and Milan were given deductions of 19, 11 and eight points respectively.

Despite CONI having insisted that nothing has been decided in advance, speculation from various sources in the Italian media stated that all the clubs will see a reduction in their penalties.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Reggina conciliation fails

Reggina’s conciliation meeting with the FIGC has failed, so a new appeal against their Calciopoli penalty is expected.

This evening President Lillo Foti, former refereeing designator Gennaro Mazzei and the Federation met to discuss the situation and find common ground.

However, the discussion failed and Reggina’s 15-point penalty remains with a two and a half year ban for Foti.

It’s therefore likely the Amaranto will go to the CONI Court of Abritration in what will probably be their final appeal.

The other clubs involved in the first wave of trials – Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio and Milan – have already gone through this legal process and reached the CONI Court of Arbitration. A verdict is expected at the end of the month.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Deductions predicted for quartet

There is heavy speculation in the Italian media that Fiorentina will have seven points shaved off their 19-point penalty.

The four clubs involved in the first wave of the Calciopoli scandal – Juventus, Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina – put their cases forward to the CONI Conciliation Committee this week.

It’s claimed that the Viola’s lawyers may have done enough to cut their handicap in the current Serie A season to 12 points. “Our line of defence is very convincing,” assured representative Alberto Bruni.

If the CONI accept the proposals, the charges for sporting fraud in the Lecce-Parma game would be reduced to mere disloyal behaviour. Not only would this cut their penalty, but it’d also effectively clear the Fiorentina directors of intentionally trying to fix a result.

“Fiorentina are not guilty of any wrongdoing, that is why we do not want to hear the word discount – we want the punishment to be cancelled,” added Bruni, the club’s lawyer. “I have trust in the court of arbitration and we gave them all the documents we prepared. For the first time I felt that I was facing people who were willing to listen to us, as this had never happened in front of the CAF and the Federal Court.

“If our request is not granted, we are willing to continue our battle and cannot exclude that we will appeal to the TAR civil court. I hope that will not be the case, but we are ready to fight if needs be.”

It’s also rumoured that the other trio will receive a discount of 30 per cent on their deductions. Juventus would therefore have five points restored, going from a -17 starting place to -12. Lazio could get four points handed back from the original -11 judgment and Milan would go from -8 to -6.

The verdicts are expected to be handed out at the end of this month.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Viola threaten TAR appeal

Fiorentina have threatened to appeal to the civil justice court if their 19-point reduction is not cancelled by the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) Court of Arbitration.

The Viola presented their appeal on Thursday – following Juventus, Lazio and Milan’s hearings the day before – in an attempt to see their punishments reduced.

“Fiorentina are not guilty of any wrongdoing, that is why we do not want to hear the word discount – we want the punishment to be cancelled,” said Alberto Bruni, the club’s lawyer.

“I have trust in the court of arbitration and we gave them all the documents we prepared. For the first time I felt that I was facing people who were willing to listen to us, as this had never happened in front of the CAF and the Federal Court. If our request is not granted, we are willing to continue our battle and cannot exclude that we will appeal to the TAR civil court. I hope that will not be the case, but we are ready to fight if needs be.”

The court is expected to hand out the verdicts by the end of the month and rumours suggest that all the deficits might be decreased.

Juventus, demoted to Serie B with a deduction of 17 points, are set to receive a 10-point reduction, whereas Milan (started the season on -8), Lazio (-11) and Fiorentina (-19) could be granted a three, five and eight-point reduction respectively to the penalties that were inflicted in July.

Milan want Inter’s Scudetto

AC Milan’s lawyer Leandro Cantamessa believes that the Rossoneri deserve a reduction in their points penalty – and the 2005-06 Scudetto.

Juventus, Milan and Lazio all presented their cases to the CONI Arbitration Court on Wednesday in an attempt to get their Calciopoli penalties reduced, with Fiorentina scheduled to appear olater today.

“One of the main lines in our defence is the fact that we don’t understand Adriano Galliani’s (pictured) ban,” said Cantamessa after the hearing.

"The only certainty I have is that Milan are innocent and that is why I have asked for our eight-point deduction to be cancelled. I believe we deserve a reduction, but I can confirm that we are not considering an appeal to the TAR civil justice. We respect the rules and we knew what we were going to face.

“In any case, who told you that we have not asked for the last Scudetto to be reassigned to us? We will accept any decision. I have been dealing with sporting justice for 22 years, the only difference in this case is the very unpleasant atmosphere that was created by the media,” concluded the newly-elected Lega Calcio Counsellor.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quartet await on final verdict

The four clubs implicated in the match-fixing scandal will hear the result of their final appeals against their punishments in the next few days.

Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina have already had their original sentences reduced. They are now seeking further cuts from the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) Court of Arbitration.

“We are hoping to get the same sentence as all the other teams,” said Juventus President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli. “I am confident that CONI will treat us in the right way because we have paid a lot with the relegation into Serie B.”

The Turin giants, who already had a 30 point penalty reduced to 17 after a first appeal, are optimistic that another cut is in line. "We are serene ahead of the sentence," said Juventus chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc last night. "We have a big handicap, having been demoted to Serie B and given a 17-point punishment, but just as we respected the previous sentence, we will also respect the next one. However, we do hope to have a fair sentence which will give the players the necessary condition to have a more acceptable challenge.".

All four clubs began the season with points deductions, while Juventus were also relegated to Serie B. The Bianconeri, Lazio (-11) and Milan (-8) will present their cases on Wednesday, while Fiorentina (-19) will have their appeal heard on Thursday.

The final verdicts are expected to be revealed towards the end of the month, with 15 days being touted as a possible timescale.

Speculation by various sources in the Italian media insist that all the clubs will see a reduction in their penalties.

Juve are only appealing against their points deduction after they decided not to take their appeal over their relegation to the civil courts. Such a move could have resulted in FIFA throwing Italy out of Euro 2008 qualifying.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Serie B duo against Juve ‘discount’

Napoli and Genoa have hit out at the possibility of seeing Serie B promotion rivals Juventus having their 17-point punishment reduced this week.

The Old Lady will appear in front of the Italian Olympic Committee’s Court of Arbitration on Wednesday where reports insist they will receive a discount on the points they were docked after this summer's Calciopoli scandal.

Yet two of their present Second Division rivals have insisted that they see no reason why Juventus, who already had an initial 30-point penalty cut, should be given another helping hand.

“I don’t understand all of this goodness when it comes to the continual talk of a discount for Juventus,” said Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentis. “It may be because I’m new to this environment, but I firmly believe that whoever has done wrong should pay the penalty. I see no reason why the judges should reconsider a verdict which has already been served, especially after the season has already started and teams don’t have an opportunity to reinforce themselves.”

De Laurentis also questioned whether the Turin giants really needed a fresh boost after dropping just two points from their first five games. “With such a march they will finish at the top of the League anyway,” he added.

Genoa President Enrico Preziosi mirrored the views of his colleague and is hoping Juve’s handicap will stay intact.

“There have already been two grades of verdicts, another one would not legitimise the sporting justice system,” said the fiery President.

“I feel sorry for Juventus who have been put in a Division which isn’t theirs, but that is a product of the sporting tribunals. We can’t forget that the first verdict was changed in a consistent manner, doing that again would have no sense. The season has already started and it isn’t right to change a verdict, if that happened then it would leave everyone perplexed.”

Talk in Italy suggests that Juventus could see their minus 17 come down to between minus 10 and minus seven. From the five games they've played so far, the Bianconeri have already picked up 13 points.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vieri demands Moratti explanation

Christian Vieri has demanded an explanation from Massimo Moratti after it was revealed that the Inter chief had someone spy on him.

The latest scandal broke out last week, when the newspapers revealed hundreds of interceptions over the past few years conducted by Telecom Italia, one of Inter’s shareholders.

“I am very disappointed and would like to know why Moratti behaved like this – we had a very good relationship and I didn’t expect anything like this,” said Vieri. “I guess six years of my life and 133 goals were not enough to earn Inter’s trust.”

The Atalanta man has asked the FIGC Investigation Office to open a file and will claim damages from Telecom Italia, while he is considering the idea of suing Moratti and the club.

“Christian has no intention of ignoring this issue. His private life is continuously violated and he has now decided to counter attack,” said Vieri’s lawyer Danilo Buongiorno. “He felt betrayed but he is not looking for revenge. He only wants to understand what happened and why it happened, in order to protect his privacy.”

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Paparesta ban wiped out

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned referee Gianluca Paparesta’s eight-month ban.

The Disciplinary Commission of the AIA Referees’ Association had suspended the Bari-born official after he was embroiled in the Calciopoli scandal this summer. Telephone interceptions showed former Juventus director Luciano Moggi confessing to locking the referee in the changing room after Juventus lost 2-1 against Reggina in the 2004-05 season.

The three-month ban for not informing the country's governing body about the incident has already been completed, so he is available to officiate in the next set of Serie B matches on Sunday.

“With this verdict, an international referee who has given credit to the Italian sport can return to his activity,” said lawyer Gianluigi Pellegrino. “We hope that the AIA and UEFA can take this into account immediately.”

The AIA's new overseer Luigi Agnolin has made his feelings about the seriousness of the omission clear, but refused to be drawn on this latest development. "I have taken note of this," he explained. "I am waiting to read the reasons behind the decision."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Matarrese: Honeymoon is over

The Lega Calcio was plunged into chaos again today as Maurizio Zamparini and Riccardo Garrone attacked President Antonio Matarrese.

The emergency meeting was called to elect two new counsellors to replace Roma director Rosella Sensi – recently appointed Vice-President to Matarrese – and deceased Inter President Giacinto Facchetti.

So far only one new figure has been elected, but it proved a controversial choice. Leandro Cantamessa is Milan’s lawyer and represented the club in the match-fixing trial.

Palermo President Zamparini failed to reach the 15 out of 20 votes necessary, even when he was fielded as the only possible candidate.

It’s now rumoured Zamparini could retire from the race, while Sampdoria owner Garrone has already resigned in protest at Matarrese’s actions.

“I could reconsider my position, but only if within 10 days Matarrese leaves the Presidency of the Lega Calcio,” said Garrone.

Matarrese was only elected on August 8 in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal, which forced Adriano Galliani to step down as President of this Serie A and B ‘union’.

“I can understand what everyone is saying, but I won’t let anyone tread all over me,” replied Matarrese.

Zamparini was the most active in pushing for Matarrese to become Lega Calcio President, but has already changed his mind less than two months later. “I told Mr Matarrese that he has betrayed his first voter, which was me, and that naturally he will no longer have my support. I’ll continue to be the Palermo President, but I couldn’t care less about this place,” he said storming out of the meeting.

Zamparini also slammed Cantamessa’s election as “fraudulent,” something the Milan lawyer was eager to answer. “We need great patience to deal with Zamparini. I realise it was humiliating for him to fail in this election. He was in a bad mood and, when you’re not particularly polite, things come out that shouldn’t have been said. I forgive him, as I don’t think he knew what he meant by the word ‘fraudulent’.”

Moratti all set to defend Inter

Inter owner Massimo Moratti will be heard by Francesco Saverio Borrelli on Tuesday as the Italian Football Federation continues its investigation into the latest interception saga.

The FIGC opened a new probe in the aftermath of the scandal revealing hundreds of cases of phone interceptions by Telecom Italia, after former referee Massimo De Santis accused Inter of tailing him as well as tapping his phone in 2002.

The ex-referee spoke to Borrelli on Monday after a former Telecom Italia security manager confessed from prison that the he did spy on De Santis and that this activity was at least in part commissioned by the Nerazzurri.

Moratti reacted immediately to the accusations, saying that his club had nothing to do with the interceptions despite Telecom being one of its shareholders, and said he was eager to speak to chief investigator Borrelli to clarify his club’s position.

Federal Commissioner Luca Pancalli expressed his worries about the new scandal in which he labelled the situation as ‘embarrassing’.

However, Moratti has hit back by again claiming his club’s innocence. “I don’t agree with that,” said the patron.

De Santis made no new revelations during his hearing on Monday and is now waiting for civil justice to follow its course. “I want justice, just as I have been stating in the past few months,” said the former referee who was forced to miss the World Cup last summer. “This is a disgusting situation. A citizen was spied on in his private life and that is unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, a new investigation is being launched in Naples in relation to the 2005-06 season. The move comes after former referee Mario Mazzoleni accused the ex-designator Gennaro Mazzei of putting pressure on him to favour Lazio before the January 21 match with Cagliari.

Monday, October 02, 2006

New revelation rocks Inter

Inter’s position in the most recent telephone interception scandal has become more critical after the confession of a former Telecom Italia manager.

The FIGC launched a new investigation, which is being led by the head of the Investigation Office Francesco Saverio Borrelli, after former referee Massimo De Santis accused Inter of tailing him as well as tapping his phone in 2002, in the aftermath of the new scandal revealing hundreds of cases of phone interceptions by Telecom.

According to the Italian press, the ex-Telecom Italia security boss Giuliano Tavaroli confessed from prison that the he did spy on De Santis and that this activity was at least in part commissioned by the Nerazzurri, as confirmed by his lawyer.

"That is partially true. The activity was commissioned by the Inter management and was taken care of in part by Tavaroli, in part by the private investigator Emanuele Cipriani,” said Massimo Dinoia after speaking to his client in the Voghera prison.

“The investigation was mainly aimed at acquiring information on the referee’s properties and was conducted between 2002 and 2003.”

Nerazzurri owner Massimo Moratti reacted immediately to the accusations, saying that his club had nothing to do with the interceptions despite Telecom being one of its shareholders.

He is scheduled to meet Borrelli on Tuesday to clarify his position, while De Santis, who declared that he would claim damages, will be heard on Monday.

Inter could risk a fine for violating the sporting code if the accusations prove to be true, but at the time being there is no reason to believe that there would be consequences for the team itself in terms of points deductions.

Lippi praises ‘lucky’ Rossi

Marcello Lippi believes former FIGC Commissioner Guido Rossi was the Azzurri’s lucky charm at the World Cup.

Rossi became the head of Telecom Italia two weeks ago and was replaced by the head of the Italian Paralympic Committee Luca Pancalli at the helm of the Federation.

“Many things have happened in the past few weeks, but I don’t really feel I can make any comments because I wasn’t there,” said the ex-Italy boss.

“As to Guido Rossi, I must say that I had the pleasure to meet a very positive person – I had a good feeling about him since the first time we spoke. He lived the entire World Cup dream next to us and it was even more exciting for him, seeing that he had never worked in this environment. Every time he came to see us we won. I told him he was our lucky charm and should have been present at every match.”

The former Juve Coach was also asked about Italian clubs’ recent struggles in the Champions League. “I read in a newspaper that Bayern’s Coach Felix Magath said that he can finally return to eating pizza in the Italian restaurants after his side’s away win to Inter, said Lippi, referring to this summer’s proposed pizza boycott after the Azzurri defeated the hosts in the World Cup semi-final.

“There aren’t that many Italian players with Inter – I think he will have to win several more games before he can really eat another pizza. Everyone seems keen on defeating the world champions, and there always are additional motivations when you play against the best. In this case Italy represent the best and that is why defeating us seems to be so important,” concluded Lippi.