Thursday, June 22, 2006

Layers and layers of drama tonight for Italy...

Well, as though the futbol itself wasn't exciting enough, Italy will be playing tonight knowing that, just minutes after the end of the game, the first report into the Calciopoli scandal now racking Serie A will be released by the - get this - one-time anti-mafia prosecutor running the probe. Calciopoli, as the scandal is known, has grown into one of the most serious in Italy's futbol history, with up to six teams accused of fixing matches and paying off referees, and mega-team Juventus accused of out-and-out stealing the scudetto in 2004-2005.

Lippi, of course, says the players are thinking of nothing except the Czechs, but can that really be true? Pundits back home expect some very tough penalties to be handed down this afternoon. The "nuclear option" of suspending the Serie A championship altogether for a year seems to have been avoided. Instead, there is now credible speculation that the once all conquering Juventus will be stripped of one or both of their most recent titles and will be demoted all the way to Serie C next year. That's right, Buffon, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Camoranesi and Del Piero will play tonight knowing that they may spend all of next year playing in 2,000 seat stadiums and facing opponents of the caliber of Lumezzane, Pizzighettone and Novara in the Italian third division!

(Of course, Nedved is also in that position!)

It would take Juventus at least two years to fight their way back to the top tournament. And though Juventus is in the most trouble, they're far from the only ones in trouble. Milan, Udinese, Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Lazio are also, to varying degrees, in hot water. That's Nesta, Oddo, Gattuso, Pirlo, Gilardino, Tony, Iaquinta and Inzaghi to you. 13 out of Lippi's 23 players are in teams implicated in Calciopoli.

Can all those players really put it out of their minds that their whole multi-million dollar, Serie A-funded racket of a lifestyle is about to collapse like a house of cards? Or will it all just set off a mad scramble by English, Spanish and German teams to buy up Italian talent at bargain basement prices?

6 Comments:

Blogger ThoughtPundit said...

Given Buffon's alledged involvement in 'illegal gambling on Seria A matches' (as the BBC puts it), isn't there a chance that he will be prosecuted? He may not want to be facing Novara in Seria C next year, but that has to be better than playing for a prison side ...

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Italians are such drama queens..... Why is it that their football always runs like a bad opera? Who knows, even the French league might be able to afford Italian players....

And let's not forget ex king Amedeo now arrested on "traite des blanches"....

7:36 AM  
Blogger Francisco said...

I guess there's just one group Calciopoli is making happy: Inter fans! After years of suffering, they might finally have a chance next year with Milan and Juve out of the way.

Buffon in jail? Wellllll...the way the Italian justice system works he can appeal and reappeal for 10-15 years...so not for a while, anyway.

The French buying Italians? Hmmmm...as far as I can make out, the French league is quickly turning into Lyon vs. the no-hopers. Only Lyon seems to have the money and the European ambitions to buy really top players. But hey...Nedved in Lyon? Why not!

9:03 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Paris St Germain also could afford discounted Italian players ;)

10:08 AM  
Blogger Francisco said...

Hee hee...the whole idea of an Italian star fire-sale is kind of fun. Maybe Hammerby can afford Del Piero...

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Stef said...

Rossi was not involved in any anti-mafia-sort-of-thing. He was the prosecutor in the so called "Mani Pulite" affair.

3:13 PM  

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