July 25, 2006

Oh, we take it all back. Serie A scandal teams get sentences lightened.: What a laugh. "A sports court allowed Fiorentina and Lazio to rejoin Italy's top soccer division and reduced the points penalty against Juventus in Serie B after successful appeals Tuesday in a match-fixing scandal."

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 05:29 PM - 27 comments

And Milan gets to play in the CL qualifying rounds. How very Italian.

posted by etagloh at 06:10 PM on July 25, 2006

So essentially, everyone got away with it, and let's pretend it didn't happen. Super.

posted by chicobangs at 06:56 PM on July 25, 2006

Every 5-10 of years an Italian game-fixing scandal comes out. There are threats of punishment but the tradition continues. It is a part of Italian football (and diving).

posted by outsidemid4 at 07:17 PM on July 25, 2006

How completely predictable. There really is no honor among thieves.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 07:39 PM on July 25, 2006

Still guilty. But officially condoned. Nice ...

posted by walrus at 07:39 PM on July 25, 2006

So tell me again how Serie A isn't like, say, telenovelas or pro wrestling? And while you're at it, could you tell me why people are stupid enough to follow it as if it were a real sport, and bet on it as if the results weren't preordained, and allegedly legitimate athletes debase themselves and their craft by participating in it? Because that bit is beyond my comprehension.

posted by chicobangs at 08:35 PM on July 25, 2006

It's all about the money lest we all forget.

posted by patz445 at 08:56 PM on July 25, 2006

patz, that's a copout. You obviously care about sports enough to have created an ID to a sports site and opened a thread about this topic and made a comment. Is that about money? Because if not, then maybe it's still about sport somehow, at least for you & the rest of us who post in these threads. (Welcome, by the way.) If I were Sepp Blatter or whoever's behind UEFA or whoever, I'd exclude Serie A teams from my tournaments until they cleaned up their sport. If they want to run a shakedown operation instead of a fair and competitive football league, then good on them, but their crookedness taints everything they touch, and if next year's Champions' League Final involves an Italian side, I can safely assume that the whole thing is as rigged as the Royal Rumble. Right?

posted by chicobangs at 09:25 PM on July 25, 2006

So instead of buying the refs, they bought the legal system... What a wonderful message this sends...

posted by Drood at 11:53 PM on July 25, 2006


posted by billsaysthis at 12:36 AM on July 26, 2006

So shameful. I still was hoping for Juve in Serie C. Oh well, that may still happen. Let's see how they do in Serie B.

posted by igottheblues at 03:29 AM on July 26, 2006

Juventus' penalty was cut from 30 points to 17 (+still relegated to Serie B). Fiorentina will have 19 points docked next season, while Lazio will be deducted 11.The court also cut AC Milan's points penalty in Serie A from 15 to 8. This is hardly getting away with something. Presumably the initial harsher penalties were set in the knowledge of the likelihood of them being reduced on appeal.

posted by squealy at 03:57 AM on July 26, 2006

I think that's what happened too, Squealy. The original court knew that, whatever they set was going to be lessened on appeal, so they set the bar higher and then waited to see how much it would be dragged down. AC Milan being allowed back into Europe is wrong, but Juve losing two titles, being relegated a division and starting on -17 points is hardly "everyone got away with it." Plus, Juve have already lost Cannavaro, Thuram, Zambrotta and Emerson as a result of the penalties, even before the appeal was heard.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:24 AM on July 26, 2006

There is also the fact that there is probably a lot of good will directed at football in Italy at the moment, considering the World Cup. there was even talk of "not punishing the players" if they won by not punishing any team, so I don't think they got away with anything

posted by Fence at 05:04 AM on July 26, 2006

The typical Italian and diving comments are getting rather old, boys. I think I'd rightfully get my ass handed to me if I mentioned 'hooligans' every time I uttered 'English' here or some other equally as banal prejudice - Surely the conversation can rise above preconcieved stereotypes? So... This is hardly getting away with something. Presumably the initial harsher penalties were set in the knowledge of the likelihood of them being reduced on appeal. Yes. That's how the legal system tends to work here. You go to court, lose your case, and appeal in the hopes that you win or are given a lesser penalty. Not too different from the good old US of A, really. Nobody is getting away with anything - all the individuals involved are barred for [FOO] amount of time in anything even remotly resembling footie. You could argue that they all should be banned for life (and I'd agree with you) but I think that course of action would be more likely to have complete overturn of sentencing for the so called bit players. I still think Milan is getting off too lightly, but who really wants to fuck with Berlusconi? He's been bitching that it's all politically motivated (re: Milan only, unless the soundbite is better for him to include Lazio & Fiorentina) - nobody wants to give him more ammo, so to speak, with the current government hanging on a precarious high wire. The other new penatlies are much more in line with the old punishment fitting the crime cliche. The inital penalties were, I feel, to show that nobody was going to get off scott free just because (or most especially because) we won the World Cup. So tell me again how Serie A isn't like, say, telenovelas or pro wrestling? Because the players aren't in on the fixing. Not one Italian player was indicted in this trial. It was refs and squad presidents/managers, and a handfull of rotten apples at that. Remeber that Italy gave the world Pier-fucking-liugi Collina, one of the most universally acclaimed refs in recent history. Players may have suspected or heard rumblings of RefGate, but they didn't go into a game and play all "la-di-da who gives a fuck 'cause I know what's going to happen" because if they did, they'd get their asses handed to them on a plate by fans. I'm mostly upset at the mass exodus of Italian players (and Cappello!) going overseas . It's not over by far, and while Milan, Lazio, & Fiorentina remain in A, only the former might have the money to pick up some of the players floating around. lazio's been in finacial straits for about 2 years and Fiorentina has been trying to rebuild funds since climbing back up from C1. Inter might be able to get one, max two and that's about it. None of the other squads have a huge budget for already established mega talent; they tend to cultivate in their own backyards.

posted by romakimmy at 07:28 AM on July 26, 2006

Yeah. What romakimmy said. This is miles different than pro wrestling. And the Italian stereotypes are tiresome.

posted by fabulon7 at 08:33 AM on July 26, 2006

I too think the actual penalties in terms of points and relegation are weak - but they're not the real punsihments, anyway. - that's going to be the exodus of the good players and the forever tarnished reputations of the teams involved. One can't expect the clubs to be disbanded, so eventually Italian futbol has got to get on with it. However, I will echo Chico's sentiments in that I think these teams should be banned from UEFA consideration for at least five years. Qualifying or not.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:01 AM on July 26, 2006

This has nothing to do with "typical Italian" anything (kimmy, you know my background), and I absolutely believe (with great relief) that the problem isn't with the players. It's that owners and managers, through personnel and strategy decisions, have at least as much power to shade games one way or another as any player does. It's the teams, and more specifically the long-entrenched infrastructure of the league itself, that's the problem here. The impression in not-Italy is that the initial penalties were pretty much appropriate, and it was encouraging that the hammer was finally coming down on the institutionalized lax and cavalier attitude that had been the norm before this. (And yes, this does speak to Berlusconi's disproportionate control over the sport and the country.) For the penalties to be scaled back like this is a mistake. Admittedly, I might be approaching this the wrong way somehow. I'm imagining this to be a little like the Black Sox scandal of 1919, where Kenesaw Mountain Landis, as Commissioner, felt it necessary to levy large penalties on a lot of people (mostly players, I know; the comparison is imperfect) to prove to the rest of the sporting world that baseball was not a crooked game. The unquestioned greatness and fairness of a referee like Collina (and, no doubt, many others) is being overshadowed by this crap, and I just find it hard to believe that this isn't being pursued harder by those whose good names are being besmirched by this scandal.

posted by chicobangs at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2006

Isn't it an unwritten (or formal) requirement that players for the Italian national team play for an Italian club side? If that is true (or if there is even a preference for such players), what affect (if any) will the move of Cannavaro and Zambrotta to Spain have on the composition of the team for Euro '08 qualifying?

posted by holden at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2006

Isn't it an unwritten (or formal) requirement that players for the Italian national team play for an Italian club side? No. In fact the new coach Donadoni has specifically said that he doesn't give a rat's ass if a player palys in Serie B or outside Italia. (Ok, rat's ass is my paraphrasing). And chico darlin', i was not singling out you nor anyone in particiular. I'm just a bit tired of the greasy Italian schtick that has been overplayed since the World Cup, mainly in the media but parroted back by some with irriatating frequency. I don't neccessarily agree that owners/manager have such awesome power over the game, despite the scandal. The biggest joke here in Rome is that despite Lotito's involvement, Lazio ended up behind a decimated, overplayed AS Roma. (and I've said elsewhere just how much the Lazio fans hate Lotitio. They boycotted a game or two last season and have since called for his head on a plate. Literally) I also think the inital penalties were heavy handed, but that they needed to be. Indeed it was a smart move, considering all the money the respective teams are throwing at pricey lawyers. It was almost a given that some if not all the penalties would be lessened. We can argue about how much of that is due to Berlusca's influence, but at least all teams were treated somewhat the same (ie Milan didn't get off scot free while the others get penalized). And from the outside it might seem like this isn't being pursued with a whole lot of vigor, but dear christ it's practically the only thing on tv. On most major newspapers, it knocked the "UN officials bombed" right down below the fold. More later - my ride to the beach is here ;)

posted by romakimmy at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2006

Isn't it an unwritten (or formal) requirement that players for the Italian national team play for an Italian club side? While this was the case for this World Cup (and from I was told, it was more of a boast than a requirement), I'm betting dollars to donuts that it's overlooked if not in Italy's favour for the next.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2006

By the way, I believe the real reason the sentences were cut is that the clubs had threatened to sue for compensation in the European courts. With the flimsy evidence against three of the clubs, and with Juve transparently guilty, this is risk reduction by the Italian FA. Still very wrong.

posted by walrus at 01:44 PM on July 26, 2006

The Italian FA didn't make the original decision, or this one.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:13 PM on July 26, 2006

You'd probably understand the European qualification laws though, Walrus, being a Liverpool fan - do the Italian FA get to choose who to send into the competition? Could they choose to ignore the court's ruling and exclude Milan (if we pretend we live in a world where they wouldn't get sued for it and Burlusconi wouldn't kill them?)

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:44 PM on July 26, 2006

Sorry guys but I beg to differ with the statement that players are not invovled in match-fixing. Maybe none we implicated this time but in previous scandals they were. If you are looking for a good book on the Italian league, check out Joe Mcginniss's The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy. He followed a small Italian team around for a season and had access to the owner manager and players. It closes with the players throwing a game to guarantee that a certain gets promoted.

posted by outsidemid4 at 05:46 PM on July 26, 2006

I think, outsidemid4, that the point is that none of the players were found guilty of anything. Or even taken to court. They weren't accused of anything, and so why should they be punished?

posted by Fence at 06:58 AM on July 27, 2006

do the Italian FA get to choose who to send into the competition? I think so. IIRC, the main problem in the current situation is teams like Empoli who, not having anticipated being in the UEFA cup, don't have the proper license(??? I'm translating a newscast several weeks back from memory - licenza per l'UEFA???). This gives Milan more arguing power (as if they bloody need it) regarding playing the CL. And outsidemid4, I beg to differ with your begging to differ. Tim Parks followed Hellas Verona Ultras in A Season with Verona and detailed antics such as racist chanting, substance abuse, violence and thuggery in general. Using your method of extrapolating, all past, present and future Italian footie fans are therefore racist, substance abusing, violent thugs. Because what holds true for a small sample size must hold true eternally for the entirety, correct? Following that, then chico's Black Sox example means that all baseball players are equally corrupt? Or am I missing the boat completely and Italians are guilty until proved innocent because you read it in a bookwhere you come from?

posted by romakimmy at 09:05 AM on July 27, 2006

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