Calciopoli: Who Was Really Responsible?

Frank TiganiCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2010

It may seem very typical and perhaps even jealous that I, as a Milan fan, hate the fact that Inter now dominates Serie A (and I very much do). By being this way, I am just looking for excuses like Calciopoli to explain their dominance.

Aside from my obvious red and black biases, it would be naive for anyone to think that Inter is some angel of a football club. That they were completely innocent in the Calciopoli scandal, and that they, too, have not engaged in devious activities similar to what Milan and Juve were so harshly convicted. Or maybe even engineered Calciopoli completely through illegal activities.

Instead, let us be realistic. In general, wherever there is money you can almost guarantee that there is some element of corruption. This, of course, is not just a football related matter for it extends into every facet of life. Where there is money and the stakes are high, corruption is inevitable to some degree at least. This view may seem cynical to many of you, but do not be fooled into thinking that it is not highly likely.

Especially in football where such shady characters like Roman Abramovich (a benefactor of the break up of the USSR who through some close "friends" virtually inherited his fortune from the demise of the state) and our very own Silvio Berlusconi (who is currently under trial for tax evasion and fraud without mentioning his likely ties to the Mafia) are present.

Whenever such a event, like Calciopoli, occurs it pays one to look at who benefits the most from such an event if one really wants to understand who is the real perpetrator. Clearly in this case only Inter were winners. Coincidence? I think not.

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Inter went a very long time without a trophy, much to the clear frustration of Massimo Moratti, who in his time as Inter boss spent millions on players. Surely Moratti, frustrated as he was, would have done anything to break his club’s hoodoo. With Inter being the only winners from Calciopoli, having dominated Italian football since, it seems rather logical that Inter had something to do with Calciopoli occurring in the first place.

Not only is it logical, but there is much evidence to suggest that Moratti engineered the scandal completely out of nothing. Given the startling connections between Telecom Italia, the FIGC, the Gazzetta dello Sport and Moratti, one is forced to rethink what they have been told to believe regarding Calciopoli.

The scandal of Calciopoli started when the Gazetta dello Sport (known as the Gazetta dello Inter by rival fans) printed out transcripts of telephone conversations with Moggi. Now, this is not only illegal (espionage by a non-governmental organisation and publishing private conversations), but the paper that leaked the transcripts was (is) owned by Interisti Carlo Buora who is, coincidentally, the vice President of Inter.

These tapes that were recorded by Telecom Italia involving Moggi and other officials at rival clubs (Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio) had actually been recorded two years prior to Calciopoli. Yet, after being sent to magistrates in Turin, Rome and Naples, it was concluded that no incriminating evidence existed. Therefore, no action was taken.

Moratti’s plan A had failed in indicting rival clubs into a scandal, and so he moved to plan B. Plan B involved publishing the transcripts in the media, namely through the Gazzetta dello Sport (Interisti’s Carlo Buora’s paper). With the release of such information, the media frenzy started to develop as Juve became publicly incriminated against.

With the onset of the media frenzy that took place, the FIGC were forced to open an investigation. The then President of the FIGC, Galliani, was forced to resign following Milan’s possible implication in the scandal. Guido Rossi duly took over the reigns of the FIGC.

As one of his first assignments, Rossi, a self-proclaimed Interisti, major shareholder in the club, close friend of Moratti and former director of Inter (1995-99), would chair the commission on Calciopoli. Conflict of interest anyone?

Following Juventus' indictment in the scandal and their subsequent relegation to Serie B, Rossi resigned from his post as president of the FIGC to become president of TIM (Telecom Italia, the company that had recorded numerous conversations involving Moggi and others in the first place). Also on the board of TIM was none other than the head of the Gazzetta dello Sport, yes, a familiar name in Carlo Buora.

INTERestingly, Moratti also serves on the board of TIM alongside his friend Buora. But the suspicious ties do not end there. A certain Maro Tronchetti Provera is Inter Milan’s second largest shareholder to Moratti. Coincidentally, Provera is also the owner of Pirelli, the company that owns TIM and shirt sponsor of Inter.

Simply put, Telecom Italia, Gazzetta and Inter Milan are all owned by the same people. It is this consortium that transpired to eliminate Inter’s rivals to pave Inter’s way to success by incriminating associated officials like Moggi.

So it is clear why clubs like Milan and Juventus along with the rest were indicted for illegal activities, whilst Inter got away all squeaky clean. It was Telecom Italia, a company with major personal and commercial interest in Inter, that fabricated the evidence in the first place. Of course they were not going to indite themselves. The whole point of the scandal was to eliminate Inter’s rivals so that Inter could benefit.

The fact that Inter was rewarded Juve’s 2005-06 Scudetto, despite the fact that year had nothing to do with the scandal (the wiretaps were recorded two years prior) shows what the whole purpose of Calciopoli was—if you have not already worked it out.

The whole scandal was designed to eliminate Inter’s rivals, namely Juventus and Milan (who were lucky not to have been relegated to Serie B also).

One may ask upon such startling information, why exactly did Juventus, a club owned by the largest corporation in Italy, FIAT, not take legal action? Well, one reason maybe because TIM is a major sponsor of Ferrari (a company owned by FIAT). Also, if Juve did appeal at the time these events took place, the Serie A season would have been delayed so long that it may not have even taken place. Also, FIFA threatened to ban Italy from all competitions, including International competition, if the appeal was lodged.

In addition, such an appeal would have uncovered Inter’s blatant connections with TIM, the company that happens to be Serie A’s main sponsor. So of course, it was in the interest of the league that TIM be not investigated as money,  lots of it, would be at risk.

All this information regarding Calciopoli makes it abundantly clear that Inter, and Moratti more specifically, had a hand in bringing about the scandal in order to eliminate rivals and finally bring success to Inter. But, what a false and shallow success it now all seems. Inter’s four scudetti mean absolutely nothing. They have only been possible due to the dire consequences Calciopoli had on clubs like Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and, of course, Juventus.

The legacy of Calciopoli has not only seen Inter dominate, but Italian football in general decline in standard as star players have been attracted elsewhere and home fans have driven away from the stadiums. Serie A has been greatly weakened by this scandal. As much as hate to confess it, Serie A is now miles behind La Liga and the Premier League. For this, Moratti has much to answer for. I just cannot wait to see Inter get kicked out of the UCL again at the first hurdle by our former coach Ancelotti.

It is Inter that should be placed under investigation with Moratti the first person that should be interrogated. Inter are the real criminals here. Surely Juve and Moggi may not have been sportsmanlike in all their activities, but Calciopoli is quite something else. It was a lie on a grand scale with only one motive—to help Inter to the success they could not achieve without it.

Remember Calciopoli 2? The scandal that threatened to blow open the case again in 2008 when it was found that Moggi had used Swiss sim cards for making telephone calls. Well, if this was the case, then there is no possibility TIM could have even tapped the conversations with Moggi which casts another shadow over the legitimacy of the whole affair. Such evidence could have only been made up through serious tampering (a crime that TIM is now being sued for).

Moratti and company are guilty of many wrongdoings that took place in Calciopoli and should be punished accordingly. Here is a list of just some of the criminal activities Moratti and TIM were involved in:

  • violations of constitutional rights during the proceedings
  • the rule restructuring done by the tribunal to justify an unnecessary relegation
  • the commissioner of the trial (Guido Rossi) having being an Inter shareholder, former director and therefore guilty of conflict of interest
  • the wiretaps recorded by TIM, a company that is now being prosecuted for espionage and evidence tampering after one of their former employees (Tavaroli) agreed to cooperate with prosecutors

It is also worth mentioning the much publicised case of Christian Vieri and his accusations against Moratti. Vieri has helped to illuminate a possible conspiracy by claiming publicly that Calciopoli was the complete work of Massimo Moratti. Vieri himself ran into trouble with Moratti a few years back. He sued the Inter president and telecommunications company, Telecom Italia, for illegal wiretapping. Vieri hints to the idea that Moratti and his friend Marco Tronchetti Provera conspired to wiretap individuals from rival Italian teams in order to eliminate them from Serie A and pave the way for Inter’s success.

Vieri claims the Inter players were all aware of Moratti’s plan, and that they were required to sign a document promising to keep their mouths shut. Vieri, a free spirit of sorts, was not trusted, and therefore, claims that Moratti and Provera had his phone wiretapped.

More such information is slowly but surely coming out, and I intend to keep you posted on what transpires. It is important that the truth be told in time at least. Perhaps when TIM terminates their relationship with Serie A, the real story may become clear. For now though, let us hope that we beat Inter this weekend and also end up beating them to the Championship for they do not deserve another one.

Forza Milan!