Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cloak And Dagger, Italian Style

Just when you thought it was safe to dive back into Italian calcio . . . The news coming out of Italy is that Telecom Italia kept tabs on the phone calls of Juventus and other key players in the Calciopoli scandal as far back as 2003. This of course predates police involvement in the case. Now you might ask, "what's the big deal, the phone company kept track of all the dirty clubs' phone records, so what?" Well, Telecom Italia just happen to be part-owners of Internazionale of Milan. Inter of course were the big winners when they retroactively were awarded the 2005-2006 Scudetto. Inter had not won a title, on the field or on paper, since 1989.

And it doesn't end there. Records also show that Inter hired a private investigator to tail referee Massimo De Sanctis, who was suspected of having close ties to former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi. You'll remember that when the Calciopoli scandal became public, Moggi was one of the first to be fingered. All this business concerning Inter's involvement came about when a former security guard manager for the phone company confessed to spying on the former ref and that he was at least partly paid by Inter to do it.

Of course, Inter owner Massimo Moratti was quick to react to the accusations. He said that his club had nothing to do with the interceptions despite Telecom Italia being one of its shareholders, and said he was eager to speak to chief investigator Francesco Saverio Borrelli to clarify his club's position. That meeting took place today.

For two hours, the Inter boss was questioned by the Italian Football Federation's investigator about his club's role in this sordid mess. While Moratti refused to talk to the press after the meeting, Borrelli was quoted as saying that the J. Edgar Hoover wannabe was "attentive and courteous." All reports indicate that the club will escape punishment even if they are found guilty. Even if all of the allegations are proven to be true, there's a statute of limitations of two years on these type of offenses and it's been four years since the alleged spying took place. The maximum punishment would likely be a fine.

In other Juve news, club president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli has publicly come out to say that he thinks that the team's 17-point deficit will be decreased or even cancelled. So if you're keeping score, the Turin giants just might well be on their way back to Serie A next season. They might well do it with the point deduction, but why make a punishment stick, right? Stay tuned folks, the Juve soap opera rambles on.

New revelation rocks Inter [Channel 4]
Moratti shuns spy charge [ANSA]
Juventus expect point reduction [Channel 4]


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