The Italian Job

European Cup, League Cup, Premiership, blah blah blah… There’s only one story that really deserves your attention this evening, and it’s not Niall Quinn’s remarkably candid confession that maybe now was not the right time for him to take on his first managerial role. The story comes from Italy, where the Italian Match-Fixing Story, a tale of intrigue that simply keeps on giving, is moving into a phase which may have ramifications for the world game. For those of you that have been living under a rock since May, a quick re-cap. Juventus, Milan, Lazio & Fiorentina were all found guilty, to varying degrees, of referee-fixing. Juventus, the most deeply involved of the four, were relegated to Serie B and deducted thirty points for this season. Lazio and Fiorentina were relegated but only deducted seven points, and Milan stayed up, but were deducted fifteen points and barred from the European Cup. On appeal, the sentences were commuted somewhat – Milan are back in the European Cup, Lazio & Fiorentina are back in Serie A, and Juventus had their points reduction reduced from thirty to fifteen. Most observers (myself included) felt that the initial punishment was fair, and grumbled at the results of the appeal, but fair enough. Decision made. Now, however, a second appeal by Juventus has failed, and all hell is threatening to break loose. Having been told...

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