The greatest scandal ever in the history of soccer.
What’s happening in this moment in my country is really breaking my heart. As an Italian and as a soccer lover.
I’m sure many of you read what happened or have seen it on the various TV shows about soccer, but, at the same time, I’m sure that you can’t deeply understand how it is possible that this could happen in a civilized society.
I think that being an Italian and soccer having been and still is my life, it is my duty to try to explain what happened.
I’m not looking for excuses or to minimize the seriousness of the problem. What happened is absolutely unacceptable and the persons involved, not only have to disappear from the world of soccer, but have to go to jail and pay for their crimes. Because it is about this that we talking: crimes!
Like Arrigo Sacchi said in an interview in these days, soccer is one of the expressions of our society. So, if one of the characteristics of Italian society is to always find a short cut to reach the goal at any cost, soccer will be like that, too. I repeat. At any cost.
When soccer, decades ago, became an actual business, it was obvious that persons interested only in making money, were attracted like bees to honey. It is like that in every country in the world, in every field, and Italy is not an exception. For this reason, Governments and Laws are there to control and make sure that everything it is regular, without ’strange short cuts’ that permit these ’sharks’ to do their dirty business. The Italian problem it is that the ’sharks’ are already there in the Institutions that are supposed to control the sharks. And because the sharks, in general, don’t attack each other, they found an ‘Italian solution’ to coexist almost in peace.
With the passing of the decades, like in other situations of power, one shark found a way to be in charge of all the other sharks, by giving them something interesting in exchange for being free to catch the better prays.
This shark’s name is Luciano Moggi, the General Manager of Juventus. In 12 years, he built a criminal organization that was able to totally control many professional teams, almost all the players, referees, the Professional Leagues and Federation.
HOW? Like this.
He created a company named GEA, under the control of his son, that through the years was able to put under contract more than 50% of the players who play in Italy. More than 300 in A and B Divisions plus 29 Coaches and 31 high ranked of team staffs. Even 3 Presidents! De Luca (Siena), Foti (Reggina), Spinelli (Livorno). In theory they could almost provide the complete roster of an entire League! That means that GEA was the sport agent of soccer players, that monopolized the market. So it’s clear that GEA could easily control the other 50%. When someone wanted one of their players, GEA could ask for a player that was not under contract with them and send him to a team that could help GEA during the season in playing ’not too hard’ against Juventus. So, if the players that GEA didn’t have under contract didn‘t do what they asked, no one could have the players that they needed. This means that, sooner or later, all the professional teams where chained by the BIG SHARK that is the boss of Juventus. If teams didn’t helped in playing ’soft’ against Juventus, really soon they would have problems in managing their future.
The persons who where officially in charge of GEA were two. One was Alessandro Moggi, the son of Luciano Moggi, the big shark, and the other was Chiara Geronzi, the daughter of Cesare Geronzi the number one of Capitalia, one of the most powerful financial institutions in Italy.
What does this mean? It means being that almost all the Italian clubs have great financial problems, GEA, with the money of Capitalia, could influence ANY TEAM to move players in the direction that works for them, towards ‘friendly’ teams, or acquire players for Juventus, in exchange for the financial support that they need to survive.
An example for all. 2004-05 season. All the people in charge of the Roma team, changed suddenly. 154 million Euros in debt with Capitalia, permitted the Moggi Clan to remove Franco Sensi, the owner of Roma, change coach by putting Gigi Del Neri, a coach under contract with GEA, force the General Manager Baldini to resign and move the middle fielder Emerson from Roma to Juventus. Plus, GEA could block a contract for 150 million Euros between Roma and SKY TV for many years of TV rights. That means bankruptcy for Roma. What could they do? Only say yes to the Big Shark.
This episode, even if it was an immense business, was only an infinitesimal transaction of the global business. Here we are talking about thousands of millions of Euros per year. That means billions of dollars every year!!!!
For what? Aside from making the Moggi Clan and their hundreds of connections enormously rich, it permitted Juventus to win season after season by magic!
But, there still a but. In the perfect mechanism there was a hole. Even with their immense power over almost all the other teams, some very powerful teams like A.C. Milan or Inter Milan, weren’t under their control. So, what was the solution to push 100% of the games in the direction that worked for Juventus?
Easy. Corrupt the referees! Not many. Just 9 among all the referees and assistants. Why only 9? Because they have the DESIGNATORS under control, the 2 guys who choose what referees are sent to a certain game. So, the few games that could affect Juventus’ standing, where regularly pushed in the correct direction for them. The penalty in favor at the right moment, or the penalty not given to the opponent team. Off-side not seen in favor and off-side given against the opponents.
But the masterpiece was this. Corrupted referees, were systematically sent to referee teams that, on the next turn, would have to play against Juventus. So, all the good players, that already had a yellow card, by magic were given another yellow card so, by summing them up, the next turn they would not play against Juventus. In desperate situations, when the good players didn’t already have a yellow card, lets give them a Red Card straight away and good-bye for a couple of weeks. The Moggi way was unbeatable.
His methods where so powerful that everybody in the ambient of Italian professional soccer knew how things worked, but they were so economically compromised with him, that they had to accept everything. And the few that weren’t under control, couldn’t prove it.
So, after years like that, finally the Public Institutions decided to do what the Sports Institutions couldn’t do. They put the telephones of hundreds people involved in the perverse mechanism, under control. Moggi, his son at GEA, the 2 referee Designators, all the Referees, all the Presidents and General Managers of all the teams, all the Agents of all players, hundreds of players, League and Federation Officials starting from the President down to the person who opens and closes the doors, and on and on, for FOUR MONTHS.
After tens of thousands of taped conversations, the plot was officially proven and the sharks where put in front of undeniable proofs.
One by one, Moggi, Giraudo the President of Juventus, Bettega the one responsible for the relationship with the Juventus players, the 9 referees, GEA associates, Carraro the President of the Italian Soccer Federation, plus other dozens of people, resigned from their positions, and it’s still happening every day.
All these people could easily, not only be kicked out forever from the world of soccer, but will probably face the fact of being sent to jail.
The sad part it is that probably Juventus, with 22 million fans only in Italy, would be sent to the last position in the standing of this season and consequently, relegated to the B Division next year. The impossibility of keeping their superstar players, given that they won’t play in the Champions League even after having won the championship, plus the fact that all the TV contracts will be cancelled, plus the sponsors that will leave the team, could only mean one thing for a team at the level of Juventus. And that thing, is bankruptcy. It’s the same destiny that Fiorentina and Lazio will probably have for ‘Direct responsibility’. This means that the guilty were part of the Staff. It is possible that A.C. Milan, will have to start next season, with a handicap of a few points, for an ’Indirect responsibility’, about some unclear conversations through the ’referee escort’ and a referee. But this has to be proven and A.C.Milan, is really out of this. They just hired this person occasionally to escort a referee from the hotel to the stadium!
Why am I explaining all of this garbage? Because it is very easy to fall into the trap of the usual stereotypes. Like all the Germans were nazi, all the Americans killed the Native Americans, all the Italians are Mafia and on, and on. It’s clearly not like that.
So, a gang of criminals were finally caught in doing their dirty business. I’m happy that this has finally happened even if, 10 days before the World Cup, it will put our national team in a very heavy situation and will put the players in front of world judgment. I’m sure that they will be ’booed’ many times, if they do some fauls too much or a penalty or an off-side, is given or not. If Italy goes out soon, everyone will say ”obvious, without corrupted referees, they can’t go anywhere” and in case of success the shade of corruption will be there. At the same time, I’m sure that our boys will show on the field, that what has happened can only, finally, give us back the most beautiful game in the world without the sharks, that almost erased soccer in my country.
Posted on 06 Jun 2006 by coachgianni