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Italian soccer remains on trial but Capello looks safe

January 16, 2008

Luciano Moggi

News of England coach Fabio Capello being investigated for tax fraud in his homeland is the latest in a long line of soccer probes in Italy. 

For example if you thought the Italian match-fixing scandal ended with Juve’s demotion, you thought wrong.

Claudio Ranieri’s side may well be back in Serie A and doing well, but there is a whole lot more to come out of the murky but intriguing inner world of Italian football.

After the original sporting trial in 2006, Juventus were relegated and stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles. Former general manager Luciano Moggi was also banned from soccer for five years after being caught on phone taps trying to secure favourable referees for matches.

Other clubs including AC Milan were deducted points in the scandal, which outsiders may have thought was over once every team started this season equal.

In fact, the painfully slow and complicated Italian legal system is only now catching up with the sporting bodies. Prosecutors in Naples (why Naples no one is quite sure) have brought a criminal case of sporting fraud against Moggi and others including former referees, federation officials and current club presidents.

New phone taps from the Naples probe have led the soccer authorities to start a new round of investigations into the sporting implications. Although Moggi was banned from all soccer, the colourful 70-year-old has continued ringing his pals across the game to talk about anything he fancied.

It does not look as if anyone high profile has been caught saying something they shouldn’t, but there is likely to further fall-out.

At the same time a separate criminal court case about the GEA World player agency is taking place. GEA was run by Moggi’s son Alessandro and linked to Marcello Lippi’s son Davide. The pair, along with Moggi and others, are accused of manipulating the transfer market by using threats or violence.   

Juve striker David Trezeguet is set to be a witness at the trial on Jan. 29 while many other famous Italian football personalities, including Capello, are set to appear.

The England coach, who quit Juve after the match-fixing came to light and was never implicated, will just be a witness in the GEA case while the FA and his son say the tax issue should be easily resolved. 

One hearing into soccer corruption had to be adjourned recently when the lights failed and the court room was plunged into darkness. It could only happen in Italy.

Mark Meadows, Milan

PHOTO: Former Juventus’ general manager Moggi talks on the phone after his side won the Italian Serie A soccer championship in Bari, May.14 2006  REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

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