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Odds & Sods
The More Things Change...
Friday, 7th July, 2006  - Richard Farmer

Luciano Moggi - traded prostitutes for penalties

In Italian soccer the more things change the more they stay the same. This year it is Juventus under investigation for match fixing but back in 1948 it was Napoli who were demoted to last and relegated from the top division for rigging a game against Bologna.

In 1953 Lucchese were penalised 18 points in Serie B for corruption.

Genoa were the bad boys of Serie A in 1960 – 28 points deducted and relegation for a case of corruption in a match against Atalanta with a further penalty seven points deducted the next year in Serie B.

Bari lost 10 Serie A points in 1962 and carried minus six points down to Serie B with them after some funny business transactions involving a game against Lazio.

1962 – Novara relegated from Serie B for corruption.

The 1973-74 was a vintage season for penalties with Sampdoria losing three points for having promised. the previous year, to give Atalanta players a little present if they lost a match. Foggia lost six points and were relegated from Serie A because of corruption affecting their game against Milan and Verona were dropped to last for a similar offence against Napoli.

The corruption allegations struck Serie B club Parma in 1975 – three points lost and relegated.

The snappy-dressing owner of La Lampara restaurant, and a fruit and vegetable trader who was an avid AS Roma fan, caused the sensation of 1980 known as the Totonero scandal named after the Italian term for illegal betting schemes. The two men tried to tamper with Serie A and B matches all over Italy, culminating in mass arrests similar to those of this year. AC Milan and Lazio were sent down to Serie B. A total of 50 years of bans to people and 25 deducted points to teams was handed out.

One of those people banned was Paolo Rossi, the center forward star of the Italian World Cup team of 1978, who was suspended for three years for match fixing at the Perugia club. A years was subsequently dropped from the sentence so that Rossi could join the Azzuri for the 1982 World Cup in Spain and, while playing indifferently in the first round matches, he scored six goals in the later games against Brazil, Poland, and in the final against West Germany, as Italy won their first title since 1938.

The Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, the game’s governing body, dropped Padova to the bottom of Serie B in 1985.

In the summer of 1986 Italian football had a new betting and match fixing scandal which involved teams, executives and players. At the end of the inquiries of the Investigation Bureau, Perugia was relegated from Serie B, Vicenza was not admitted to Serie A, Udinese and Lazio lost nine points for the 1986-87 season with Cagliari, Palermo and Triestina each penalised five points.

Among the executives, the Udinese and Firenze general managers and the Perugia and Cavese presidents were disqualified for five years with lesser sentences for many others. Disqualifications between two and five years were given to 15 players with another 23 being outed for between one and 18 months.

In the 1990-91 season, Luciano Moggi, the former car salesman and recently resigned Juventus general manager, supposedly provided prostitutes for referees when he was at Torino for three UEFA Cup matches. Torino won all three games. "They didn’t think I was a thief!" one woman, who had been in a hotel room when one referee opened the door, told investigators.

In 1993 Perugia was again in the news when its promotion from Serie C1 to Serie B was cancelled when it was discovered that referee Emanuele Senzacqua had bought horses from Perguia president Luciano Gaucci. The referees’ association soon established an honesty test.

Corruption again struck in the Serie C in the 1993-94 season with Catanzaro and Mantova both relegated and Massese suffered the same fate in 1997.

The quaintly named Genoa Cricket and Football Club was the club in the news at the end of the 2004-05 season when it was found to have paid €250,000 to ensure that they beat Venezia in the last round of the Serie B competition.

Venezia, second from bottom and already relegated, had filed for bankruptcy at the time of the game, had ten first-team regulars on strike over unpaid wages and fielded a side filled with youth-team players. Genoa needed the home win to guarantee their promotion and obviously did not want to leave anything to chance.

According to a London Times report, a series of wiretaps revealed suspicious conversations between Genoa officials and their Venezia counterparts during the match. The Times report continued: "Even more telling was the fact that Pino Pagliara, a Venezia director, was arrested by police as he was leaving Preziosi’s offices a few days later. He was carrying a duffel bag stuffed with the €250,000 in cash. Genoa came from behind to win the game 3-2 and, to the judges, it was an open-and-shut case. Preziosi’s defence regarding the money was even more absurd. He claimed that the funds were a downpayment on a Venezia player he was planning to buy (clearly forgetting that buying footballers with cash is illegal). Preziosi received a five-year ban, Genoa’s promotion to Serie A was wiped out, they were demoted to Serie C and slapped with a three-point penalty for the coming season."

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