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The stain of Calciopoli

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In what has been a season of ups and down, Juventus finally got the short end of the stars as they have docked ten points by the Italian Football Federation after their investigation found that the club had indulged in financial misappropriation when conducting transfer dealings. The club were earlier hit with points docking, which was revoked before finally being reduced to ten points. The docking of pints has hit the club hard as they dropped down from second to seventh place, missing out on Champions League qualification. The current scandal has quite eerie similarities with the infamous Calciopoli scandal that got the club relegated to Serie B, along with several other punishments.

In fact, the scandal rocked the club so hard that at one time, it looked like they would fail to recover their place back among the Italian and European elites, going the same as Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa, who have failed to recover after falling from grace.

The club returned, but the Calciopoli scandal remains a stain on their legacy. So, what was the Calciopoli scandal?

What is the Calciopoli scandal?

One of the most interesting things about the Calciopoli scandal was its accidental discovery. Between 2001-06, the Serie A was generally a two-horse race between Juventus and AC Milan, the two powerhouses. Their clash was so fierce that it brought the worst in both sides, with competition so intense that both sides hurled several accusations.

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One such accusation was that Juventus players performed far better than any other team because they took performance-enhancing medication. It was this accusation that got the Italian government prosecutors interested. As a result;t, they started monitoring the class of several top officials from all the top clubs and Serie A.

The investigation found two things: there was no doping case, and what was happening was perhaps far worse. In their phone calls, they got clear evidence that Serie A games were being fixed by pressuring the referees to give favourable decisions towards a specific team in a game.

While there were other teams apart from Juventus who were found to be mired in the scandal, the Old Lady’s role was the most prominent, especially their general manager Luciano Moggi. The investigation found that Moggi had called to put pressure on UEFA’s referees’ commission vice-chairman.

Other club presidents also went out of their way to influence which referees officiated their team’s game. While the predictors never found any evidence of referees taking bribes, they alleged that since the clubs; presidents wielded so much power, the officials gave favourable decisions out of fear of losing their job.

One such incident that garnered much attention was when the prosecutors alleged that Moggi and his assistants had locked referee Gianluca Paparesta and his two assistants after Juventus’ loss to Regina in the 2004-05 season.

To make matters worse, the investigations and allegations occurred when the 2006 FFIA World Cup was about to start. And even though Italy won the competition, the title celebrations were affected by the Calciopoli.

Punishment of Calciopoli

The scandal was unlike anything Italian football had ever seen, and the nation’s government went all in to clean up the mess. First came the resignation of Franco Carraro, the head of the Italian Football Federation. The resignation of the entire Juventus board of directors followed this.

However, the Italian Football Federation was serious about getting to the root of the situation, which meant taking strict actions. And Juevtnus were the major victims of the punishments that were inflicted. The club from Turin were also stripped of their 2004-05 Serie and were docked of all points in the 2005-06 season.

AC Milan were docked 30 points from the 2004-05 season and eight points from the 2005-06 season, meaning Inter Milan won the title. Fiorentina were also hit with an eight-point ban and knocked out of the 2006-07 UEFA Champions League. Lazio endured A similar fate, being docked three points and knocked out of the 2006-07 UEFA Super Cup.

Reggina were hit with an 11 points ban and a €100,000 fine.

2005 Calciopoli Scandal

Clubs Involved  Punishment 
Juventus Relegated to Serie B with anine-point deduction, stripped off the 2004-05 Serie A title, demoted to 20th in the 2005-06 Serie A
AC Milan Eight points deducted, 30 points deducted from the 2005-06 season
Fiorentina 15 points deducted in Serie A, knocked out of the 2006-07 Champions League
Lazio Three points deducted, Knocked out of 2006-07 Uefa Cup
Reggina 11 points deducted, €100,000 fine

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Effect on the clubs

The most affected club by the Calciopoli scandal was Juventus, who lost several players after being relegated, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira, Fabio Cannavaro, Emerson, Lilian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta and Adrian Mutu. However, a large part of their star core, such as Gianluigi Buffon, Del Piero, Giorgio Chiellini, Pavel Nedved and David Trezeguet, choose to stay, helping the club finish first and win back promotion to Serie A.

Lazio and AC Milan finished third and fourth on the league table in the 2006-07 Serie A season, respectively. Fiorentina managed a sixth-placed finish, while Reggina finished in 14th.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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