Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Italian "justice"

So, the appeals are in, and as predicted here on this site, only Juve have been relegated in the end. Their point deduction has been reduced from 30 to 17 points, which means they probably have a fighting chance of being back in Serie A next year, and a fighting chance of being back in Europe the year after.

Fiorentina and Lazio are back in Serie A, albeit with point reductions that make their stay their precarious. Both will have to work hard to avoid relegation this year, though this may be easier since both have been denied European football

Milan – or should we say Berlusconi? – have more or less avoided punishment altogether. They were given a 30-point deduction on last year’s total, dropping them to 4th place, which means they still get to play Champions League football this year (not even a drop to UEFA Cup spot for Silvio’s boys). They start this year with an 8-point penalty. That might make the Scudetto marginally more interesting, but given Juve’s demotion and Inter’s hopelessness, Milan are still a good bet to win Serie A this year.

Here’s an interesting question about the last two weeks that no one’s bothering to ask…why didn’t Lazio or Fiorentina sell any players? Why did so many Milan players say that they had no intention of leaving even if they had no prospect (until yesterday) of playing in Europe?

Could it be that the initial punishment was a sham? Could it be that the FIGC wanted to look tough without actually sanctioning anyone too much? And that the teams and the players were actually in on the deal and knew this was the likely outcome?

Heavens, no. Italian justice could never be that corrupt.

Oh, and by the way – the team that got screwed out of a Champions League spot as a result of Milan’s miraculous re-instatement? Palermo. Trust Milan and the FIGC to find a way to slap down the south in all this. Terroni in Europe simply can’t be permitted….

Enough of Serie A. Antonio promises to shut up about Italian football and its endless frustrations for a couple of weeks. On to other topics!

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