Makings of a scandal: Juventus' match-fixing system copied by their rivals

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The Independent Football

The punishments handed down yesterday in the Italian match-fixing hearing were for what Guido Rossi, the government-appointed commissioner of the Italian Football Federation, described as "an extraordinarily grave series of offences, which were part of a widespread network and which involved the principal institutions of Italian football with their leaders, their organs of control and justice and some of the most important clubs".

At the centre of that network was Italy's biggest club, Juventus, and two of their former directors, Antonio Giraudo and Luciano Moggi. Since 1994, when he was brought to the club by the late Umberto Agnelli, Moggi's legendary wheeling and dealing helped to provide successive coaches - Marcello Lippi, Carlo Ancelotti, Lippi again, and Fabio Capello - with players good enough to win seven scudettos and the Champions' League.

Great coaches and great players were not enough. Moggi began spinning a web of powerful contacts to ensure that Juventus benefited from every possible advantage. The principal nodes of the network were the football federation and the federation-controlled referees' association. Moggi was in regular contact with the two officials responsible for appointing referees, Paolo Bergamo and Pierluigi Pairetto.

It is alleged that they were able to provide the referees he had demanded by rigging the ostensibly random draw which determined which officials were appointed to games. Moggi informed the federation vice-president, Innocenzo Mazzini, of his dealings with the two officials.

The friendly referees - allegedly led by Massimo De Santis, who had been due to officiate at the World Cup in Germany before the scandal broke - would then take over. The simple part of the job was giving borderline decisions in Juve's favour, overlooking fouls by Juve players which should have drawn a yellow card (the team's yellow cards to fouls ratio is usually the lowest in Serie A) or, if needed, disallowing perfectly good goals scored against the team.

A subtler part of the task involved easing Juve's path to victory by officiating in matches featuring the team scheduled to play Juventus the following week and booking or sending off players so that they would be suspended for the Juve match.

Pairetto made the most of his friendship with Moggi. Juve's owners, Fiat, made cars available to the club at discounts of between 23 and 50 per cent. They were intended for staff but, as a Fiat employee, Vittorio Pastore, explained to investigators, they were sold to friends of Pairetto via Moggi.

Lazio and Fiorentina sensed how the whole system worked and for a long time the respective owners of the two clubs, Claudio Lotito and Diego Della Valle, railed against it, promising to bring a "new morality" to the game. Faced with relegation after numerous dubious refereeing decisions, they saw the writing on the wall, and, according to the federation prosecutor, Stefano Palazzi, decided that they could not beat the system and so would join it. Lotito asked the then federation president, Franco Carraro, for help in four end-of- season matches in 2005. Carraro told Bergamo that he should "give them [Lazio] a hand". Fiorentina asked Mazzini for help in matches against Lazio and Bologna.

Milan's managing director, Adriano Galliani, told investigators that he had long suspected that referees favoured Juve but that he had never imagined it to be part of such a sophisticated system. He strenuously denied that there was ever a "Milan system". Palazzi disagreed. He accused Galliani, who was then also president of the Italian Football League, of backing the operations of Milan's referees' assistant, Leandro Meani. As Palazzi put it: "Meani was in telephone contact with linesmen, who were asked, when in doubt, to favour Milan. Galliani approved."

"Moggigate", as the affair has been dubbed, came about as the result of separate investigations by magistrates in Turin, Rome and Naples. The magistrates in Turin who had brought Juventus to trial over alleged doping offences - charges which were later demolished by the Court of Appeal - had ordered the phones of senior Juve officials to be tapped over a 48-day period in 2004. Magistrates in Naples, investigating the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, were alerted to potential links between organised crime and football, and decided to tap the phone calls of a wide number of people within the game during the 2004-05 season. In April 2004, magistrates in Rome began an investigation into allegations of intimidation against the GEA player agency, which is run by Moggi's son, Alessandro.

Yesterday's punishments by the football authorities are insignificant compared to the powers of the ordinary justice system. In the Naples investigation alone, 41 people face charges of "sporting fraud", an offence with a maximum of two years in prison. Investigations will also focus on other aspects of the Moggi system, such as the GEA agency and his links with politicians, senior policemen, magistrates and broadcasters.

The crime of "sporting fraud" was created as a result of Italy's last big match-fixing scandal, in 1980. That scandal ended with the federation relegating Milan and Lazio and suspending several players. The players, and the two businessmen who masterminded the illegal betting ring which was behind the match-fixing, were acquitted in the courts because match-fixing was not a crime at the time. The acquittal gave rise to the 1989 law which criminalised any attempt to alter the outcome of a match.

Boxing clever - how Moggi influenced what was said on TV

Since his resignation from Juventus in May, Luciano Moggi has insisted that whatever he did as the club's sporting director - and he still insists he did nothing that was not common practice - he did to protect Juventus from "the real power, that which controls the television".

It doesn't take an expert code-breaker to decipher the reference to Silvio Berlusconi and Milan. However, it is now clear that Moggi was the puppet master behind at least one popular show, Il Processo (The Trial).

It is Italy's longest-running football programme and pulls in audiences of two to three million to its regular Monday-night slot. The creator and presenter of the show is Aldo Biscardi, an old friend of Moggi's. A central plank of the show is the analysis of key refereeing decisions from the previous day's matches. The final say was entrusted to an ostensibly independent expert, the former Serie A referee, Fabio Baldas.

It is here that Moggi saw an opportunity. Over the years, some of the refereeing decisions in Juventus' favour had been so blatant as to be almost embarrassing for the club. By getting Il Processo to put a favourable slant on things, Moggi hoped to temper any public backlash, while referees who would not be co-opted were to be humiliated on air.

The Italian Football Federation's prosecutor, Stefano Palazzi, highlighted the subtlety of the manipulation. The broadcasters' pro-Juve interpretations were only to be made in cases where there was a genuine doubt about a decision and never where a mistake had clearly been favourable to Juve.

When phone taps between Moggi, Baldas and Biscardi were published, the programme was immediately pulled by the commercial station which ran it. However, Biscardi and his show were immediately snapped up by a regional channel in the north of Italy.