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Soccer: FIGC probe into 'new' wiretaps

'Hands off 2006 scudetto', Inter say

21 April, 18:02
Soccer: FIGC probe into 'new' wiretaps (ANSA) - Rome, April 21 - The Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) on Wednesday opened a fresh probe into the 2006 Calciopoli match-fixing scandal on the basis of wiretaps presented to a Naples court by former Juventus General Manager Luciano Moggi.

"In the next few hours," the federation said, "FIGC Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi will present a formal request to Naples court chair Teresa Casoria, thus activating an investigation into the new series of wiretaps".

Some observers think the new probe, which has been widely expected, could result in Inter Milan losing the 2006 Serie A title it was assigned after Juve were stripped of the crown.

In one of the taps presented by Moggi in his defence, which were not used in the original probe, the late Giacinto Facchetti, then chairman of the club, is heard talking to referee selector Paolo Bergamo about the possible selection of 'super ref' Pierluigi Collina for an upcoming Inter game.

Inter, which has launched a "hands off our scudetto" drive, disputes whether, in the allegedly incriminating conversation, it was Facchetti or Bergamo who first mentioned Collina.

Inter, which has drawn level with AC Milan in the all-time scudetto count on 17, ten less than Juve, has also accused Moggi of "obvious bias".

Juve fans and players including Alessandro Del Piero and Fabio Cannavaro have long argued they should not have lost the scudettos for 2005, which was not reassigned to any club, and 2006, the one that went to Inter.

At the start of the current season, when they were seen as Inter's main rival for the title, Juve supporters' clubs said "we are going to make it 30" even though their official tally, because of Calciopoli, is only 27.

Moggi, judged by FIGC the ringleader of a group which fixed matches in the 2004-2005 season, was banned for five years by a sporting tribunal in 2006.

The publication of wiretaps Neapolitan investigators recorded during their probe triggered the scandal shortly before the 2006 World Cup.

As a result, FIGC relegated Juventus to Serie B and stripped it of the 2005 and 2006 titles. Juve won promotion back to the top flight after a year.

Lazio, AC Milan, Reggina and Fiorentina were also found guilty of misconduct and docked league points.

In the criminal trial in Naples, Moggi and 23 other Calciopoli defendants face charges ranging from sports fraud to being part of a criminal organization.

Former FIGC deputy head Innocenzo Mazzini, Fiorentina owner Diego della Valle and Lazio Chairman Claudio Lotito are among the 24 defendants.

Former referee appointers Bergamo and Pier Luigi Pairetto, are charged with fixing match-official draws for Moggi.

Five referees and five linesmen are also in the dock along with eight other defendants including a soccer journalist with the RAI state broadcaster.

All deny wrongdoing.

The FIGC is in the unusual position of being both a plaintiff and defendant.

Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio are the other three civil defendants while a number of clubs including Roma and Bologna filed suit as plaintiffs, along with consumer associations, fans, and a publishing company that had to scrap a million stickers celebrating what would have been Juve's 29th title.

Bologna, which argues that it was pushed into bankruptcy partly because of fixed results and relegation, demanded 10 million euros in damages from Juventus and 32 million from Fiorentina.

Among the witnesses Moggi has called are Milan owner and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Italy coach Marcello Lippi and England coach Fabio Capello.

Capello was due to testify this week but had to put off his trip because of the Icelandic volcano cloud transport chaos.

AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani and Inter Chairman Massimo Moratti have also been reported as among the people heard in the 'new' wiretaps, but Italian media have downplayed their remarks.

photo: Moggi

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