Seven refs suspended by AIA
The Italian Referees’ Association has suspended the seven referees involved in the latest wave of the Calciopoli scandal.
The Naples prosecutors closed their match-fixing probe last week after almost a year and named 48 people suspected of wrongdoing.
The latest findings are now expected to be passed on to Saverio Borrelli, the head of the Italian Football Federation’s (FIGC) investigative team, who might open a new sporting trial.
AIA chief Cesare Gussoni had announced that it would wait for official documentation regarding the accusations before making any decisions.
But the referees’ governing body has now opted to suspend Paolo Bertini, Stefano Cassara, Antonio Dattilo, Marco Gabriele, Gianluca Paparesta, Tiziano Pieri and Salvatore Racalbuto. Assistants Marcello Ambrosino and Duccio Baglioni were also suspended as a precautionary measure.
A total of 39 games from the 2004-05 campaign were among a list of incriminated ties, 15 of which were not previously made known.
Former Juventus director general Luciano Moggi was again at the centre of the scandal after being accused of attempting to influence the outcome of the matches.
The now infamous Bianconeri official is also thought to have provided a number of referees with Swiss SIM cards that were considered safe from wiretapping.
Judge: Juve safe, Messina at risk
The judge in charge of the first Calciopoli trial assures Juventus cannot be punished again, but Messina could face heavy sanctions.
The Naples public prosecutors concluded their investigation yesterday and released a list of 48 people suspected of wrongdoing, a standard step before possible criminal charges are issued.
Once again the match-fixing allegations rotate around former Juve director general Luciano Moggi, accused of providing Swiss SIM cards to referees and designators to contact them without being traced.
However, the Bianconeri seem to be safe from further punishment after their summer demotion to Serie B.
"What do Juventus risk? Our decision did not examine individual incidents, as we had to rule on a ‘climate’ created to favour Juventus," explained Piero Sandulli, the judge in charge of the Federal Court that sent the club to Serie B with a 17-point penalty – later reduced to nine on appeal.
"If these new games under investigation are part of that ‘climate’, I doubt that Juventus can risk anything else in disciplinary terms. It would be a sporting matter that had already been sentenced."
The same cannot be said of Messina, who play a role in the Naples investigation and were in fact saved from relegation by Calciopoli, as Juve’s demotion freed up a space in the top flight.
"Messina do run a risk in this case," confirmed Sandulli to the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport.’ “We were told nothing about their role from the public prosecutors in the CAF or the Federal Court. Messina’s is a new case there was only the briefest mention of, so I don’t think it was analysed by the sporting justice system."
Sandulli also gave his view on the new element in the Moggi scandal – the Swiss SIM cards used by referees.
"A reserved SIM card in itself is not illegal, even if it is very strange. It becomes sporting fraud if that card is used to make phone calls in order to fix a match or anything else. In any case, it is odd. I doubt these mobile phones were ‘reserved’ to call their wives and say they were coming home for dinner…"
Moggi laughs off new allegations
Disgraced former Juventus director general Luciano Moggi has laughed off new accusations in the second wave of Calciopoli.
With the closure of the Naples investigation, there are allegations that he provided referees with Swiss SIM cards that were considered ‘safe’ from wiretapping.
"What Swiss cards? I gave nothing to anybody, it’s totally ridiculous," Moggi told ‘La Repubblica’ newspaper.
With the latest accusations levelled at Juventus, there are reports the club could face further sanctions just as it is about to re-enter Serie A following their summer demotion.
"Who said Juve will be involved? No chance! Juventus have already paid more than enough of a price. I really don’t see how they could be dragged into it again, especially as there’s nothing to it."
The ex-director general reserved his most barbed comments for the claims that Salvatore Racalbuto booked Reggina full-back Giandomenico Mesto in the game against Messina so that he would be suspended for the next match with Juve.
"I read that story and fell about laughing. Please – imagine how we were quaking in our boots at the thought of Mesto coming to Turin…"
Naples prosecutors have finally closed their match-fixing probe after almost a year and have named 48 people who they suspect of wrongdoing, a standard step before possible criminal charges are issued.
"The contacts took place via phone calls, thanks to secret SIM cards that were provided by Moggi to designators Paolo Bergamo and Pier Luigi Pairetto, to Messina’s sporting director Mariano Fabiani, to referees Gianluca Paparesta, Salvatore Racalbuto, Stefano Cassarà, Antonio Dattilo, Paolo Bertini, Marco Gabriele, Tiziano Pieri, Massimo De Santis and Marcello Ambrosino," read a statement released by the Naples prosecutors.
Milan sue for 2005 Scudetto
With the new wave of Calciopoli investigations, Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani announced the club was seeking to legally be awarded the 2005 Scudetto.
The title was stripped from Juventus and left unassigned after the trial that saw the Turin giants demoted in the summer.
However, the latest inquiry has named the 0-0 draw between Juve and Milan at the Stadio Delle Alpi – officiated by referee Paolo Bertini – as one of the games where there were suspicions of wrongdoing.
"I remember that match well. Very well," said Galliani. "From the summer our fans understood what had really happened. We didn’t need this confirmation."
That result effectively ended the Rossoneri’s Scudetto hopes and if the Naples investigation finds Juve responsible of influencing it, we could see another drawn-out court battle.
"The 2004-05 Scudetto? Our lawyers are working on it. I don’t know if it is a Utopia to hope for the title, but it does seem a very complicated affair."
The Delle Alpi encounter took place on December 18, 2004 and was dominated by Milan, who were unable to score as Andriy Shevchenko hit the woodwork. There was also a strong early penalty shout for Jonathan Zebina hauling back Hernan Crespo from getting on the end of a Shevchenko assist and another complaint for Zebina’s tackle on Kakha Kaladze in the area.
Milan were also furious on 66 minutes when Kaka dispossessed Lilian Thuram and was running at the Juve defence with three against two, but the referee stopped play for a free kick rather than giving the advantage.
Nothing to fear, say Juve
Juventus have issued a statement to reassure fans that today’s twist in the Calciopoli investigation will not see them punished further.
Public prosecutors in Naples are set to provide the Italian Football Federation with new evidence of alleged match-fixing during 2004-05, with some reports claiming that the Bianconeri could be hit again.
However, the Turin giants have this afternoon claimed that they have already paid the price for the misdemeanours of previous employees Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo.
"The news reported in the newspapers today does not change the club’s conviction that it cannot be held responsible for any wrongdoing referred to the past management," read a note on the club’s website.
"The players and the entire Juve staff have faced the Serie B championship with passion and professionalism, overcoming last summer’s crisis.
"The current managers are aware that a very high price was paid and that there are no pending issues with the sporting justice, and this has allowed them to plan the outfit’s future serenely.
"To the fans, who have never faltered in their support, Juventus can confirm their desire to start winning again and return to the very top of the world game."
President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli had already distanced the outfit from claims that they were set for further penalisation after the stripping of two Serie A titles and demotion to Serie B with a nine-point deduction.
"We have to make it clear that Calciopoli didn’t start with Juventus," the chief argued. "We’ve already paid the price for it, perhaps too much.
"After all, the decision to take away the 2006 Scudetto from us and hand it to Inter is still incomprehensible today."
Calciopoli II to hit Juve?
Juventus could reportedly face more penalties for their part in the Calciopoli scandal after public prosecutors in Naples wrapped up their investigation.
The Italian giants were stripped of their last two League titles and thrown into Serie B with a nine-point penalty, but Bianconeri fans are fearing another summer on trial.
Prosecutors in Naples have finally closed their match-fixing probe after almost a year and have named 48 people who they suspect of wrongdoing, a standard step before possible criminal charges are issued.
It is now expected that their findings will be passed on to Saverio Borrelli, the head of the Italian Football Federation’s (FIGC) investigative team, who may opt to open a new sporting trial as a result.
It’s understood that a total of 39 games from the 2004-05 campaign are among a list of incriminated ties, 15 of which were not previously made known by the Naples investigation.
Among the fresh games under suspicion is a Juventus-Milan tie which ended 0-0 in Turin from the season in question.
The scandal erupted last May when a number of intercepted telephone calls between leading figures of the Italian game and referees raised doubts over the legitimacy of the '04-05 championship.
Former Juventus general director Luciano Moggi was placed at the centre of the scandal after being accused of setting up a network in an attempt to influence the outcome of matches.
"The contacts took place via phone calls, thanks to secret sim cards that were provided by Moggi to designators Paolo Bergamo and Pier Luigi Pairetto, to Messina’s sporting director Mariano Fabiani, to referees Gianluca Paparesta, Salvatore Racalbuto, Stefano Cassara, Antonio Dattilo, Paolo Bertini, Marco Gabriele, Tiziano Pieri, Massimo De Santis and Marcello Ambrosino," read a statement released by the Naples prosecutors.
As a result of their findings, the match officials and Sicilian club Messina – who have protested their innocence – could also be facing a sporting tribunal.
Messina chief Pietro Franza said: "We have always operated in absolute legal transparency. [Former sporting director] Mariano Fabiani will be cleared in a short time."
With regards to Juventus, it has been claimed that they may be asked to face more FIGC charges depending on what Borrelli finds in the reports.
But the Turin giants are remaining calm about the situation. "Until we have something concrete in our possession then it is not right to say anything," said club lawyer Luigi Chiappero.
However, President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli quickly shot down claims that his outfit may face further penalisation for either this season or next. "We have to make it clear that Calciopoli didn’t start with Juventus," he argued. "We’ve already paid the price for it, perhaps too much.
"After all, the decision to take away the 2006 Scudetto from us and hand it to Inter is still incomprehensible today."
Lazio, Milan, Reggina, Fiorentina and Arezzo were the other clubs punished by the FIGC for their part in Calciopoli, as well as numerous club, FIGC and refereeing officials.
Only one referee, Massimo De Santis, was found guilty of misconduct in the sporting courts.
These are the 15 new games under investigation: Udinese-Brescia 1-2 (26-09-2004), Siena-Juventus 0-3 (23-10-2004), Juventus-Chievo 3-0 (31-10-2004), Messina-Reggina 2-1 (31-10-2004), Messina-Fiorentina 1-1 (28-11-2004), Juventus-Milan 0-0 (18-12-2004), Roma-Parma 5-1 (19-12-2004), Brescia-Bologna 1-1 (06-01-2005), Cagliari-Juventus 1-1 (16-01-2005), Messina-Parma 1-0 (23-01-2005), Sampdoria-Siena 1-1 (30-01-2005), Siena-Messina 2-2 (13-02-2005), Palermo-Lecce 3-3 (20-02-2005), Reggina-Messina 0-2 (13-03-2005) & Lazio-Juventus 0-1 (24-04-2005).