Scandal rumbles on despite Carraro resignation

Scandal rumbles on despite Carraro resignation

Juventus officials Antonio Giraudo (left) and Luciano Moggi (right) with team coach Fabio Capello.

Juventus officials Antonio Giraudo (left) and Luciano Moggi (right) with team coach Fabio Capello.

The biggest scandal to hit Italian soccer in more than 20 years showed no signs of calming yesterday despite the resignation of the game's top official, football federation president Franco Carraro.

Carraro's departure on Monday followed the publication of mobile phone conversations between key figures in the game with high-ranked personnel at Serie A leaders Juventus and, in particular, the club's 68-year-old general manager Luciano Moggi.

In the transcripts released so far, Moggi discusses specific refereeing appointments for games in Italy and Europe and reveals his close contacts with top officials.

While the taps have not produced evidence of criminal acts, they do confirm a widely-held view in Italy that Juventus and Moggi enjoy cosy relationships with leading officials.

The attitude of many in the game was summed up by television pundit and former Juventus striker, Gianluca Vialli, who said: "The fear I have when I read these things is that we are dealing with the tip of an iceberg and that the worst is yet to come".

UEFA has already reprimanded Pierluigi Pairetto, a member of UEFA's refereeing commission and previously one of Italy's top referees' officials.

Taps revealed he had leaked information on the match officials chosen for a Juventus game in the Champions League - a breach of confidentiality regulations.

The transcripts date from the early months of the 2004-05 season, which ended with Juve being crowned champions. The documents have emerged from a Turin magistrates' probe which ended without action.

As well as a federation enquiry into those telephone conversations, Moggi is also being investigated by magistrates in Naples and Rome in two separate probes into illegal gambling and the operation of a management company owned by Moggi's son Alessandro.

The GEA management firm has over 200 players and coaches on its books. Rome magistrates have put the company under investigation for "illegal competition with use of threats and violence."

Yesterday, Rome magistrates added two more GEA employees to the list of those they intend to investigate, while local media reported a leaked letter from the Rome probe.

In the letter, a GEA official writes that the firm should show potential clients "what our organisation is without threatening anyone as has happened in the past."

With further transcripts of the telephone taps likely to emerge in the coming days, the daily Gazzetta dello Sport said yesterday "the world of football is even more worried".

The positions of Moggi and Juventus CEO Antonio Giraudo look precarious after the club's owners refused to give them their backing.

Elkann's support

John Elkann, vice-chairman of the FIAT group and the grandson of the late Gianni Agnelli, the club's long-term president and owner, expressed support on Sunday for the players and the coach Fabio Capello.

Of the management team, Elkann would only say their future would be discussed at a later date.

Juventus will hold a board meeting tomorrow and Italian media are already speculating that Moggi and Giraudo, along with vice-president Roberto Bettega, could be removed.

While Moggi clings to his post at the Juventus board, Carraro's decision to fall on his sword is an attempt to atone for the federation's sluggish response to the scandal.

Investigators delivered the transcripts to the federation in March, but Carraro's organisation sat on them for two months before they were sensationally leaked to the press last week.

Italian football has dealt with several cases of match-fixing, illegal gambling and doping in recent years.

The most recent major scandal to involve a top club came in 1980 when Milan and Lazio were demoted to Serie B following an investigation into gambling and match-fixing.

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