It's the scandal that won't go away. Adam Digby on the latest twist in the Calciopoli tail.
Just as it seemed the second Calciopoli trial was about to peter out into nothing, the Italian FA's Chief Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi issued a statement on Monday outlining his belief that FC Internazionale were guilty of "conduct aimed at ensuring an advantage in the standings."
The original trial of summer 2006, widely criticised for its rushed and highly selective nature, saw Juventus relegated due to Luciano Moggi's perceived position as chief instigator in a network of relationships between club management and referees throughout Italian football.
As well as forcing the Turin club into Serie B (starting with minus 18 points, reduced on appeal to minus 9), that first case also saw Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina all begin the season with a range of penalties in place after a number of wire-tapped telephone calls implicated them all as being involved.
From a official standpoint, two main rules in the Code of Sporting Justice are routinely cited. These are;
Article One: Unsportsmanlike conduct, starting with lowly offences such as swearing or blasphemy on the pitch to excessive numbers of phone-calls to league/FA officials. Violations of this rule have previously been punished with fines or, in extreme cases, a minor points penalty.
Article Six: The attempt to gain an advantage in the standings through match-fixing or attempted match-fixing. Violations usually punishable with immediate relegation.
However Article 18 of the code, pertaining to the punishments for breaking these rules opens up an entire range of punishments for every article, from simply a reprimand to going as far as removing previously won titles and relegation. In 2006 Juventus, due to a combination of hasty decisions, some dubiously positioned officials and the evidence being shaped to paint them as the ultimate villains of the piece, was an unprecedented relegation for numerous Article One violations.
The judgement ruled that although there was no violation of Article Six, the exclusive relationship between Moggi and certain officials constituted a clear advantage. This was largely the reason behind the FIGC's decision, just under a month ago, to change his five year ban into a life-time exclusion from Italian football.
What has happened in the intervening years, thanks largely to relentless appealing, harassing and goading of the FIGC by Luciano Moggi, is the uncovering of a wealth of new evidence. This began almost before the freshly adjusted 2006-07 season began, when a raft of previously unheard and unreleased Telecom Italia recordings were revealed, sparking a new trial of the whole process in Naples, often referred to as 'Calciopoli II'.
Again thanks to Moggi and the lawyers he has personally employed, the FIGC were left with no option but to take an interest and open up the possibility of further punishments. They gave Palazzi the task of examining the new evidence, much of which revealed that former Inter President Giacinto Facchetti had regular contact with referees and other top football officials between 2004 and 2006.
Transcripts taken from recordings revealed a continued and extensive dialogue between Facchetti and former refereeing designators Paolo Bergamo and Pierluigi Pairetto, the very men the ex-Juve Director General was constantly talking to. This clearly negated the original ruling that Moggi enjoyed an 'exclusive relationship' with the two officials.
Furthermore, Palazzi has, by going on record saying Facchetti has breached Article 6, all but said that Inter's role in the corrupt system was perhaps the largest of all. The FIGC has stated a final decision will be made by July 18 and these comments from its chief prosecutor could well lead to the revocation of the 2005-06 Scudetto, handed to the Nerazzurri after being stripped from Juventus as part of the original punishment.
Italy’s Statute of Limitations states that the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings can be initiated is five years and this has been seized upon by Moggi and conspiracy theorists as 'proof' that Inter will never be punished for their actions. Yet here is where the line between criminal law and sporting justice must be made clear.
While a criminal court cannot consider these latest findings, the FIGC are not bound by these limits, only by its own rules and regulations. Article 39 of the same Code of Sporting Justice states that the FA 'is allowed to challenge and review any ruling made at any point in time'.
Facchetti passed away before any of this new evidence was brought to light and, whilst it is tragic to see a truly iconic figure become tainted in this manner, it is only right and fair that all guilty parties are brought to justice. Luciano Moggi last year famously told ANSA:
"The thing is simple. Either everyone is innocent, or everyone is guilty."
Sadly for Italian football there are no innocent parties here.
Adam is a freelance football writer and regular contributor to IBWM. Follow him on Twitter @Adz77
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