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This article is written by CNN's commentator Gabriele Marcotti. As opposed to most of his colleagues he actually knows what he's talking about, and being Italian (whit alot of inside knowledge and connexion) living outside of Italy, he's views on controvercies are often more subtle than his domestic peers.
As for his own preferences I can tell you that he's born in Rome, and is NOT a Juventus fan.
I know his own preferences, but read it without knowing it please.
It's almost 100% the same opinion I have, and futher explains why I thik some action is appropriate, and why I don't think You can hold Juve responsible (I know some of You don't).
It's even longer than my posts (when I'm worst :)), but I think You'll find it worth it.

Ciao.


More problems in Italy


In some ways, Italy is a country of Oliver Stones, a place filled with master conspiracy theorists who see evil, underhanded plots everywhere.

Soccer is not immune from this.

Last weekend's events in Serie A showed that there is a growing conviction among clubs, players and fans that things aren't quite the way they should be, that no matter what happens, certain clubs (namely Juventus and, to a lesser degree, AC Milan) will always end up on top.

Serie A has a serious problem, one which, in the words of Lazio chairman Sergio Cragnotti, could "make the Italian game lose its credibility."

Cragnotti has hinted at what some fans already believe, that there is a concerted effort on the part of the Italian federation and referees to favor Juventus.

It's not something which is pleasant to discuss.

In fact, casting doubt on Juventus' success is wrong and unfair towards the players, management and coaches, who have busted their tail ends all season to produce a powerful, cohesive side, and towards the fans, who are on the verge of celebrating their 26th Italian title.

Until somebody comes up with concrete evidence, making accusations is dangerous and unjust.

I am not going to debate the merits of the accusations. Regardless of whether they are true or not, the problem remains.

The mere perception that something screwy is going on is a serious black mark on the Italian game.

Like a pus-filled zit, it can not be ignored.

Sometimes appearances are just as important as reality. If people lose faith in the honesty of the game, if people start to think (whether correctly or not) that Serie A is somehow scripted, they will lose interest.

They will stop buying tickets, pay-per-view subscriptions and replica shirts and those all-important revenues will dry up.

More importantly perhaps, if fans start to believe that Serie A has become like professional wrestling, scripted entertainment, the whole game will come crashing down.

There is a reason most kids dream of becoming a Rivaldo or an Alex Del Piero, rather than a Stone Cold Steve Austin: they know Rivaldo and Del Piero are for real, whereas Stone Cold is essentially an actor.

If too many people start to believe that Serie A is just a nine-month long feature film, it can't do the game any good.

This latest round of accusations stems from the refereeing in Juventus-Parma on Sunday. The bianconeri were hanging on to a 1-0 lead when Parma's Fabio Cannavaro headed the ball past Edwin Van der Sar in injury time.

It would have been the goal that might have turned the Serie A title race, because Lazio had just beaten Bologna 3-2 away. Drawing with Parma would have left both Lazio and Juventus level on points heading into the last game of the season.

But referee Massimo De Santis disallowed the goal. Juventus cruised to yet another victory and, more importantly, maintained its two point lead over Lazio.

On Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti's men visit Perugia, a team which has nothing left to play for and which many believe will roll over and play dead.

You might as well sew the scudetto on Juventus' shirts right now, say the cynics.

De Santis' decision appeared highly dubious in television replays. He claimed he saw a foul and whistled before Cannavaro's header. Video evidence proves the contrary, the whistle blew just as the ball was hitting the back of the net.

A dejected Cragnotti said: "I have spent more than US $180 million in the last two years and for what?"

"Only to find out that we can not win. This is the second season running that the Serie A championship is sending us a very precise and distinct signal: Lazio must not win."

"If this continues, perhaps Lazio should pull out of Serie A altogether. We'd be better off in European competition or playing in another country's league, with foreign referees. At least that way we would not have to deal with this infection at the heart of Italian football."

Referees make mistakes, they are human, nobody doubts that.

They are an integral part of the game and, provided they are in good faith, it's reasonable to assume that over the course of a season, good and bad decisions will balance each other out.

The problem here is that many believe the officials aren't in good faith. They don't think it's an issue of incompetence or personal errors, they maintain it's an issue of will.

Juventus is being willed to victory, they say.

And they cite evidence, dating back to twenty years ago.

Reams of videos, photo stills and personal testimony which they insist shows dubious decisions in Juventus' favor.

From Ramon Turone's "invisible goal" for Roma against Juventus twenty years ago to an unpunished challenge in the penalty box by Mark Iuliano against Ronaldo two seasons back, they claim the "Old Lady of Italian Soccer" has always been favored.

It may just be a lot of envy and sour grapes.

It may be congenital losers forever playing the part of the victims.

Or, there might be something more sinister afoot, though nobody has proved anything and, for the time being, we must assume no such conspiracy exists.

Either way, it's time for Serie A to shape up.

This suspicion, this poison is infecting the game.

Whether it tarnishes legitimate victories by Juventus or rigs the entire championship, it must be stopped.
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London-based Gabriele Marcotti writes a weekly column on international soccer for CNNSI.com.
 

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Yeah, it's a pretty good written article. But nothing we didn't
already know... so it doesn't add much to the ongoing debate.

It's clearly written from an American point of view, or at least
intended towards an American audience (typical CNN). In Europe
and especially in Italy, these things are just experienced differently
because football is a more integrated part of our society.

And of course corruption is very wide spread in southern Europe,
including (but not limited to) Italy. In everyday life as well as
when doing business it is customary to make payments to speed
things along. It's just reality, so why should the football business
be any different. It's not just a football problem, it's a problem
that affects the society as a whole.

Maybe now is time to form a European league, let's wait and see.
 
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Surely the refs are not more than humans and they are bound to make misstakes any now and then. Surely thats a part ot the game, (thats why I'm against introducing videocameras on the stadiums.)

But this year no one can say it evens up, its so obviously that juve has had such a extremely big advantage that it is ridiculous! It might be unfair to the juve players to state this fact, perhaps, but then again, how proud can they be?????? Even they must, at least deep inside, realise that they've been incredibly lucky this year, and that there may exist a team who are more worthy.

Áll this, of course gets you wondering if there aren't foul play involved here? As you say, Boyo, is it strange one starts to suspect briberies or something?

And to cragnottis threat about a european superleague, that is simply not the right way to go. What makes you think it should be any different in such a league? (Wouldn't juve play there???)
 

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This guy's a genius, and so is everybody else, he said nothing that we didn't already know!!!

------------------
LAZIO E BASTA
 

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Sure Juve will probably be included in a European league, as will
most other teams. But Juventus won't have the same impact
(both 'politcal' and psychological) on a European league as they
have on the Italian league. And that is what Cragnotti is refering to.
 

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Hmm, Boyo, perhaps Cragnotti was thinking of how many CL finals Juve managed to be in in recent years yet they just couldn't lift the trophy! Geez! ;) And even the elimination by ManUtd in the semi-final! Being a non-ManUtd fan either, I symphatized with Juve then, I admit!
Yes, Cragnotti could be thinking about those instances...hmm... ;)
If I'm not wrong this is my 100th post -geez, in just 3 weeks? Oh my phone bills...sigh...
 

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100 posts in 3 weeks? Hey, thats nothing... I'm at 73 in just 8 days!! :) :)
I go offline after I've opend a topic or are typing my postings,
so that helps to keep the phonebill down.

Yeah you could be right about Cragnotti refering to the CL, you
just never know with him :)

[This message has been edited by Boyo (edited 10-05-2000).]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
....let me get this straight.... Juventus were good enough to gt to the finals 3 years in a row and a semi the year after... and You think of that as a sign we were not able to buy the refs. in the final, while it had been no problem throughout the rest of the tournament ? We we're a few bucks short- while Dortmund and Real Madrid weren't ?
Have we actually ever won anything fair and square ?

Having said that I will just like to say that obviously we don't have the same name and "power" in Europe as we haven't won that many EC's or CL's. Milan is much more prestigous in Europe- not to mention Real Madrid. Our reputation lies mainly within serie A, and that's a fact.
I don't contest the fact that referees like Juve (I can't believe how many times I've had to say this lately), all I wanted to say was that.....

Well, I know You've heard this before, but many of You certainly do not agree with Marcotti on his opinion that Juve is not to blame. As I see clips from Gazzetta and Corriere everywhere with quotes and stuff, I just thought You would be interested in the words of a widely respected commentator (who are impartial in this matter). If that's not the case... I was wrong.

Ciao.
 

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Yes, But what is the point? All of us think the same way with this guy.Even non-Lazio fans they have the same idea.
Around all europe they are talking about Juve-Parma game...
Glen is that you really?
 
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Hi Glen and everybody else.

Before I start this answer, let me make my view in a couple of issues clear: to begin with, I want to say I've red several posts written by Glen. I respect his opinions as fair and something I very often can agree with. And on the "lucky-Juve"-matter: I do not think that the Juve players are to blame, they are just pro-fotballers who do their job. As for possible bribes and so on from the Agnelli's or their employees, I don't know what to think. But weather or not bribes has been used: Juve is a great team that certainly has deserved most of their titles. What's important now, however, is what you (Glen) yourself admitted: JUVE HAVE HAD FAVOURS FROM THE REFS. If we can accept that as a fact, I'm ready to go on:

First of all: if I understand the article correctly, the main ideas is

1) One shouldn't start shouting about any conspiracys that is not proven. It's unjust against players and fans, and...

2) ...the price in lost credability might be very high. People can get the impression that Serie A is like am pro wrestling, and loose their interest in the leauge. Therefore, one should think twice befor going public with accusements.

*****

The way I see it, the problem isn't the conspiracy theorists. The real problem is that theese theorists has a REASON to throw their theories: like we already stated as a fact - refs like Juve. THIS is the problem, and THIS is what has to be dealt with.

If football lovers has a reason to doubt the honesty in Italian football, it should be in everyone's interest - including the Agnelli's - to prove the doubts are wrong. This should be done directly, as soon as the reasons to doubt arises, and it should be done by launching an open and independent investigation from the Football Federation. And the first one to support this investigation should be Juve; it's mainly THEIR honour that's on stake. I must wonder, having said this, why this is not the case... why does Juve officials - assuming they have nothing to hide - throw counter accusements in media instead, in a way they usually doesn't? I tell you what: let's leave that question.

*****

Having identified the main problem as the fact that "the refs like Juve", and there by said that the doubters has a reason to doubt the fairness of Serie A, let's attack the issue of shouting about conspiracys without evidence.

Well, what can one demand? Is Crag, the other Serie A presidents, the teams supporters or anyone else, supposed just to sit down and wait for an evidence of briberies (or something like that) to show up? Are they/we gonna throw our own private investigations? Or are we gonna wait for some ref or Juve-/Milan-official to "confess". Certainly not. Evidence - if there is any - must be found, and in the interests of everybody involved, it should be found through official channels. Otherwise the evidences credability will always will be doubted.

My point is: since this investigation isn't launched yet (or is it?), EVERYONE should ask for it, and demand it. Loudly. And when doing so, accusements probably will have to be thrown, to justify the demand. As I said: it's not the conspiracy theorists that makes people loose interest in Serie A. It's the fact that they've got REASON to think cheating has been done.

*****

Finally: while awaiting reactions and counter measures after this latest scandal, why don't we all reflect on the issue mentioned by DeBoer: weather or not video cameras should be used.

I agree with DeBoer that refs must be allowed to make mistakes. That's a part of the game. But since there is getting more and more money in to the international football, the sport has become a multi-billon dollar industri. This makes cheating more and more tempting in certain cases, to stay at or get to the top. And since "refs are allowed to make mistakes", there actually exists a grey zone in the rules to be used for this shady purposes. A ref, having been properly paid for it, can always "make a mistake"... and then claim it was a mistake!

Cameras, consulted by the fourth ref when goals has been scored or fouls has been committed inside the penalty area, would make the referees impact on the result less big. This would also decrease the size of the grey zone in the rules - it would be more difficult to cheat.

We live in the 21st centuary. Maybe we have to accept that even when it comes to technical equipment used in football? The cameras should not be used to protect the clubs from mistakes made by the ref. They should be used to protect the leauge from loosing its credability.

*****

NOW I'm gonna end, before this becomes a book. Thanks for staying with me this long.
 
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