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A Twist in the Tale

July 26, 2006

Club badges of Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio, AC MilanI thought it was too good to be true. The Italian football’s governing body FIGC got tough and sent out the message that cheats don’t prosper in Italy.

The four clubs involved have appealed and – shock horror – all their punishments have been reduced:

  • Juventus – Relegated, deducted 17 Points (was 30), stripped of their last 2 titles, and have a three match stadium ban.
  • Fiorentina Stay in Serie A, deducted 19 points (was 12), and have a three match stadium ban.
  • Lazio Stay in Serie A, deducted 11 points (was 7), and have a two match stadium ban.
  • AC Milan – Stay in Serie A, deducted 7 points (was 11), reinstated into Champions League, and have a one match stadium ban.

(All changes are in italics)

Looks like Italian cheats won’t be shaking in their boots quite so much after all.

Only Juventus will be relegated, so it looks like the ‘Summer Spectacular’ cut price sale of World Cup winners in a manner not too dissimilar to a Marks & Spencer advertising campaign, won’t be quite as ‘spectacular’ as expected since only one squad will be decimated instead of three.

There is some debate as to whether staying in Serie A with -19 points is worse than being relegated with -12 points. The theory is that the -19 points could mean Fiorentina get relegated anyway whereas there was still the possibility of getting promoted straight back up to Serie A despite a -12 point handicap. What seems to be ignored is that by staying in Serie A, Fiorentina will probably keep the majority of their players and will have enough quality to avoid relegation this season and regroup next year. If they had been relegated, the majority of players would have moved on, so it was unlikely they would bounce straight back up again, especially with the -12 points start to the season.

All this could be academic since the punishments could be reduced even further if the clubs are successful in the civil courts, which apparently is being considered.

The biggest losers from this latest twist are Lecce and Treviso. The two clubs were spared relegation after the original verdict, but now Fiorentina and Lazio are back in Serie A, they will be relegated after all.

Football is a rollercoaster of emotions at the best of times, but the last few weeks have been especially turbulent for the average Italian football fan. Winning the World Cup against the odds and expectation, the severe original verdict of the scandal and now the reprieve. It’s an emotionally exhausting time to be an Italian football supporter at the moment – and the season hasn’t even began yet…

~ TranceFixed

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