Calciopoli (Italian pronunciation: [kalˈtʃɔːpoli]) was a scandal in Italy's top professional football league, Serie A, and to a lesser extent Serie B. The scandal was uncovered in May 2006, when a number of telephone interceptions showed relations between team managers and referee organizations during the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons, being accused of selecting favourable referees. This implicated league champions Juventus and several other teams including Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina. In July 2006, Juventus were stripped of the 2004–05 title (which was left unassigned), and was downgraded to last place in the 2005–06 championship (the title was subsequently awarded to Internazionale) and relegated to Serie B. Many prison sentences were handed out to sporting directors and referees, but after almost a decade of investigation, all were acquitted in 2015 due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, except for a one-year sentence confirmed to referee Massimo De Santis.
Origins and etymology
The scandal first came to light as a consequence of investigations of prosecutors on the Italian football agency GEA World. Transcripts of recorded telephone conversations published in Italian newspapers suggested that, during the 2004–05 season, Juventus general managers Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo had conversations with several officials of Italian football to influence referee appointments. In one of those conversations Moggi accused Pierluigi Collina and Roberto Rosetti of being "too objective" and asked them to be "punished". Both referees were among the few referees to emerge unscathed from the scandal.
The name Calciopoli (which could be adapted in English as "Footballgate", by analogy with the Watergate scandal, and would be literally translated as "Footballville") was made up by the media by analogy with Tangentopoli (literally "Bribesville"), which is the name that was given to some corruption-based clientelism in Italy during the Mani pulite investigation in the early 1990s—in that case, the neologism was formed by combining the Italian word tangente ("bribe", from the Latin word tangens which means "to touch" and, in a wider sense, "to be due to") and the Greek word polis ("city"), originally referring to Milan as the "city of bribes".
On 4 July 2006, the Italian Football Federation's prosecutor Stefano Palazzi called for all four clubs at the centre of the scandal to be thrown out of Serie A. Palazzi called for Juventus "being excluded from the Serie A Championship and assigned to a lower category to Serie B with 6 points deducted", while for Milan, Fiorentina, and Lazio to be downgraded to last place in the 2005–06 championship and relegation to Serie B. He also asked for point deductions to be imposed for the following season for the clubs (three for Milan and 15 for both Fiorentina and Lazio). The prosecutor also called for Juventus to be stripped of its 2005 title and downgraded to the last place in the 2006 tournament.
In the case against Reggina on 13 August, the prosecutor called for Reggina to be demoted to Serie B with a 15-point penalty. On 17 August, Reggina's punishment was handed down: a 15-point penalty, but no relegation from Serie A. Furthermore, the club was fined the equivalent of €100,000, while the club president Pasquale "Lillo" Foti was fined €30,000 and banned from all football related activities for two-and-a-half years.
|Original punishment||Appeal result||Final punishment||Original punishment||Appeal result||Final punishment||Original punishment||Final punishment|
|Milan||None||−15 points||−8 points||• Deducted 44 points for the 2005–06 Serie A season
• Deducted 15 points for the 2006–07 Serie A season
• Out of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League
|• Deducted 30 points for the 2005–06 Serie A season|
• One home game behind closed doors
|Fiorentina||Relegated to Serie B||Administrative relegation cancelled||−12 points
|Out of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League||• Out of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League|
• Two home games behind closed doors
|Juventus||Relegated to Serie B||−30 points
|€75,000 fine||• Stripped of the 2004–05 title (left not assigned)|
• Downgraded to last place in the 2005–06 season (title given to Internazionale) and relegated to Serie B.
|Lazio||Relegated to Serie B||Administrative relegation cancelled||−7 points (Serie B)||−11 points (Serie A)||−3 points (Serie A)||Out of the 2006–07 UEFA Cup||• Out of the 2006–07 UEFA Cup|
• Two home games behind closed doors
|Reggina||None||−15 points||(No appeal result)||−11 points||(No original punishment)||• €100,000 fine|
• Club president Pasquale Foti fined €30,000 and banned from football for 2½ years
Consequences of the punishments
The clubs sent down to Serie B were initially expected to have a difficult road back to the top flight. They would have had to finish in the top two of Serie B to be assured of promotion and also had to avoid finishing in the bottom four to avoid being relegated to Serie C1. Juventus, for example, were initially docked 30 points—the equivalent of having ten wins nullified. This made it very likely that they would not return to Serie A until 2008 at the earliest. The point penalty, however, was reduced to nine points, giving Juventus a fighting chance at promotion. They went on to win Serie B in the 2006–07 season to make a swift return to Serie A.
Fiorentina, who were docked 15 points, were expected to struggle in Serie A and faced an outside chance of relegation the following season. However, they finished the 2006–07 season in sixth place, earning a place in the 2007–08 UEFA Cup.
The relegation of Juventus also prompted a mass exodus of important players such as Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram and Zlatan Ibrahimović. Some thirty other Serie A players who participated at the 2006 FIFA World Cup opted to move to other European leagues in the wake of the scandal.
On 8 May 2006, Franco Carraro resigned from the presidency of the FIGC, the body responsible for selecting Italy's FIFA World Cup national team. Juventus's entire board of directors resigned on 11 May, while Moggi resigned shortly after Juventus won the 2006 Serie A championship on 14 May. On the Borsa Italiana, Italy's stock market, Juventus shares had lost about half their 9 May value by the 19 May.
Effect on Serie A
Initially, with Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio all relegated, Messina, Lecce, and Treviso would have remained in Serie A, despite finishing in the bottom three in the 2005–06 season. After the appeals, only Messina remained in Serie A. Teams promoted from Serie B (Atalanta, Catania and Torino) were unaffected and promoted to Serie A as normal.
Based on the preliminary final league positions, Juventus and Milan would have earned a direct entry into the UEFA Champions League, Internazionale and Fiorentina would have entered the third qualifying round of the Champions League, while Roma, Lazio and Chievo would have been eligible for the UEFA Cup. On 6 June 2006, the FIGC officially withdrew from the 2006 Intertoto Cup, costing Palermo a place in the third round of the competition, citing the fact that the 2005–06 Serie A standings could not be confirmed by the 5 June deadline.
UEFA gave FIGC a 25 July 2006 deadline to confirm the standings or face sanctions in the two larger European competitions (then extended to 26 July). After the appeals, Inter, Roma, Chievo and Milan occupied Italy's four Champions League places for 2006–07. Inter and Roma received a direct entry into the Champions League, while Chievo and Milan started at the third qualifying round. Milan's entry was confirmed by UEFA shortly after the appeals process. Milan went on to win the competition. Palermo, Livorno and Parma took the UEFA Cup first-round slots originally given to Roma, Lazio and Chievo.
Regarding this decision, Carlo Porceddu, a federal prosecutor from 1998 to 2001 and current vice president of the Federal Court of Appeal, stated in an interview with Unione Sarda: "Revoking the 2005/2006 "scudetto" (championship) from Juventus and assigning to Inter it was a serious mistake. The Calciopoli investigation should have been more thorough, so much so that we, as the Federal Court, had limited the penalty to Juventus not withdrawing the championship title due to insufficient evidence. In fact, that aspect had been neglected. Then, the special commissioner of the Federation of that period had appointed a group of his friends, one of whom was also on the board of directors of Inter, and that title was revoked from Juventus and given to Inter. That was a grave error in my view." Purceddu had more than once in the past highlighted several points to be clarified on that investigation.
Juventus originally announced that they planned to appeal the punishment in the Italian civil courts, an action that would have brought further punishment to the clubs and the FIGC by FIFA, as FIFA has historically taken a dim view to government involvement in football administration. FIFA announced that it had the option to suspend the FIGC, thus barring all Italian clubs from international play, if Juventus went to court. Juventus dropped its appeal before the Lazio Regional Administrative Court on 31 August, the day before it was due to be heard. Juventus officials cited the "willingness shown by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) to review its case during (CONI's) arbitration."
On 26 October 2006, the second appeal reduced Lazio's penalty to three points, Juventus's reduced to nine points and Fiorentina's reduced to 15 points. Milan were unsuccessful and were still faced with an eight-point deduction.
Massimo De Santis was due to be Italy's refereeing representative at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but was barred by the FIGC after coming under investigation. Italian referee Roberto Rosetti remained untainted by the scandal and was chosen as one of the twenty-one 2006 FIFA World Cup officials.
In addition to allegations of corruption and sporting fraud by owners, managers, players, referees and league officials, the host of Italy's most popular football show, Aldo Biscardi, resigned amid allegations that he collaborated with Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi to boost the club's image on television.
In all, magistrates in Naples formally investigated 41 people and looked into 19 Serie A matches from the 2004–05 season and 14 Serie A matches from the 2005–06 season. Prosecutors in Turin examined the Juventus chairman Antonio Giraudo over transfers, suspected falsified accounts and tax evasion. Prosecutors in Parma investigated national team goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Enzo Maresca, Antonio Chimenti and Mark Iuliano for suspected gambling on Serie A matches, but all were cleared in the same year.
After the first penalties were handed out, more teams were looked at for possible links to the scandal. Messina, Lecce and Siena were also investigated as prosecutors continued to analyse transcripts of telephone calls.
Later developments and rulings
In April 2007, the Italian daily La Repubblica disclosed some new details about the Calciopoli affair, as Naples prosecutors were able to find out a series of telephone calls through foreign SIM cards between Moggi, Bergamo, Pairetto and several referees. Since the conversations were through foreign SIM cards, the Italian police could not tap them, so they could only try to match together phone numbers, numbers called and places. The SIM cards had been purchased in a store in Chiasso (Switzerland). Some SIM cards were Swiss and registered to the store owner's family, while the others came from an anonymous person in Liechtenstein. The prosecutors also discovered the use of a Slovenian SIM card. In this investigation they involved Moggi, Pairetto, Bergamo, Fabiani (Messina sporting director), the referees De Santis, Racalbuto, Paparesta, Pieri, Cassarà, Dattilo, Bertini, Gabriele and the assistant Ambrosino. According to this investigation, Paparesta also used the Swiss SIM card for personal use and this helped the prosecutors to discover this secret communication channel. Apparently, Moggi had five foreign SIM cards, two of which had been used to communicate with Bergamo and Pairetto, whereas the others had supposed to have been used to communicate with the referees and Fabiani. Moreover, another wiretapping was recently unveiled by the Italian daily La Stampa. Although containing nothing truly compromising, in the recording Moggi and Marcello Lippi (former coach of Juventus and coach of the Italian national team at the time) clearly insulted Inter's president (Massimo Moratti) and trainer (Roberto Mancini), as Lippi stated that Mancini deserves a lesson while Moggi answered that Mancini would have such a lesson.
On 26 April 2007, La Repubblica's website published about two hundred audio files of the wiretappings, some published one year before in the written form and some never published. This allowed readers to perceive tones and forms of the conversations as well.
Milan, originally ejected from the 2006–07 Champions League due to the scandal, went on to win the competition on 23 May 2007.
On 17 June 2007, on the Italian show Qui studio a voi stadio, a popular football show broadcast by the local TV Telelombardia based in Milan, Bergamo admitted that Moggi actually gave two Swiss SIM cards to Pairetto and Pairetto gave one of those SIM cards to him. Bergamo stated that, on suspicion of being tapped, he used that SIM card only to communicate with Pairetto and that, after the exhaustion of the credit, he did not use the SIM card anymore.
On 14 December 2009, Antonio Giraudo was sentenced to three years in prison.
During the Calciopoli trial in Naples, the legal team of Luciano Moggi released a number of wiretapping showing that Milan and Inter had been involved too in the Serie A scandal during 2004 and 2005. Such wiretappings were involving Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani, Inter owner Massimo Moratti, then-Inter chairman Giacinto Facchetti and former referee designators Paolo Bergamo and Pierluigi Pairetto, as well as many other Italian clubs not previously mentioned in the scandal.
On 15 June 2011, FIGC announced that former Juventus directors Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo would be banned for life from any football-related roles in Italy. However, the sentence stated that no Article 6 (about match-fixing or attempted match-fixing) violations were found within the intercepted calls and the season was fair and legitimate. Furthermore, no requests for specific referees, no demands for favours and no conversations between Juventus directors and referees themselves were found.
In July 2011, FIGC Chief investigator Stefano Palazzi alleged in his report that, in addition to Luciano Moggi, the following club officials have also violated the Code of Sporting Justice by contacting referee designators in illegal manners.
- Article 1: Campedelli (Chievo), Cellino (Cagliari), Corsi (Empoli), Foschi (Palermo), Foti (Reggina), Gasparin (Vicenza), Governato (Brescia), Meani (Milan), Moratti (Inter), Spalletti (Udinese).
- Article 6: Facchetti (Inter), Meani (Milan), Spinelli (Livorno).
According to Palazzi's findings, the clubs represented by the above people had to be punished during the Calciopoli trial, but no court could confirm these allegations since all facts are covered by the statute of limitation. Regarding Palazzi's report, Giancarlo Abete, then-president of FIGC, stated that there were no legal ground to revoke the title from Inter. However, he also hinted that Inter should give away the 2006 Serie A scudetto and leave it unassigned on the basis of ethics.
On 8 November 2011, Naples court issued the first conclusion of the criminal case against Luciano Moggi and the other football personalities involved, sentencing him to jail for five years and four months for "criminal association".
In December 2013, Moggi's sentence was reduced to two years and four months for being found guilty of conspiring to commit a crime, but the earlier charge of sporting fraud passed the statute of limitations.
On 23 March 2015, in its final resolution the Supreme Court ruled that Moggi was acquitted of "some individual charges for sporting fraud, but not from being the 'promoter' of the 'criminal conspiracy' that culminated in Calciopoli." Nevertheless, the remaining charges of Moggi were cancelled without a new trial due to the statute of limitations. Giraudo's sentence also expired in March 2015. Appeals by Fiorentina owners Andrea and Diego Della Valle and Lazio president Claudio Lotito against their sentences were also rejected on the same ground—their cases have also passed the statute of limitations. The court accepted the prosecutor's request to clear charges of former referees Paolo Bertini, Antonio Dattilo and Gennaro Mazzei, but rejected the appeals for Massimo De Santis and Savaltore Racabulto. Shortly after the court's decision, FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio remarked in an interview with ANSA that "while the motivations may be pending, the sentence confirms the thesis of the prosecution" and that "the crimes were real and so was the criminal conspiracy." In response to the final verdict, Moggi claimed that it merely let the courts off the hook, not him, therefore he vowed to turn to the European Court in hopes to have his ban from football world lifted.
On 9 September 2015, the Supreme Court released a 150-page document that explained its final ruling of the case. Despite that Moggi's remaining charges were cancelled without a new trial due to statute of limitations, the court made clear that Moggi's unwarranted activities incurred significant damage to Italian football not only in sporting, but also in economic terms. In the document, the court confirmed that Moggi was actively involved in the sporting fraud which was intended to favor Juventus and increase his own personal benefits. The document also stated that Moggi had "unjustified and excessive power within Italian football", which he used to exert influence over referees, other club officials and media, thereby creating "an illegal system to condition matches of the 2004/05 championship (and not just those)." On 15 March 2017, Moggi's lifetime ban was definitively confirmed on final appeal.
In September 2016, District Court rejected the claim from Juventus because it had no jurisdiction over CONI arbitration chamber's decision made in October 2006. In December 2018, the Supreme Court of Cassation upheld this District Court's decision. In January 2019, Juventus handed another appeal to Sports tribunal under CONI to have the 2005–06 Serie A title removed from Inter. The appeal was rejected on 6 May 2019.
- Massimo De Santis: four-year ban from football and 23 months' imprisonment; one-year suspended sentence confirmed in 2015
- Luciano Moggi: five-year ban from football and five years and four months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Antonio Giraudo: five-year ban from football and three years' imprisonment; acquitted
- Paolo Bertini: 17 months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Antonio Dattilo: 17 months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Innocenzo Mazzini: five-year ban from football and 26 months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Pierluigi Pairetto: 42-month ban from football and 16 months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Tullio Lanese: 30-month ban from football; acquitted
- Claudio Lotito: 30-month ban from football and 15 months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Andrea Della Valle: three-year ban from football and fifteen months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Diego Della Valle: 45-month ban from football and 15 months' imprisonment; acquitted
- Pasquale Foti: 30-month ban from football and 15 months' imprisonment and fined €30,000
- Sandro Mencucci: 30-month ban from football and 15 months' imprisonment
- Leonardo Meani: 30-month ban from football and one year's imprisonment
- Salvatore Racalbuto: 20 months' imprisonment
- Stefano Titomanlio: one year's imprisonment and fined €20,000
- Adriano Galliani: nine-month ban from football
- Gennaro Mazzei: six-month ban from football
- Fabrizio Babini: three-month ban from football
- Gianluca Paparesta: three-month ban from football
- Claudio Puglisi: three-month ban from football and one year's imprisonment and fined €20,000
- Franco Carraro: fined €80,000
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- Complete record of FIGC decision, July 2006 (ITA)
- Complete record of FIGC decision, June 2011 (ITA)
- Complete sentence for November 2011 trial written by Naples court (ITA)
- Complete sentence for March 2015 trial written by supreme court (ITA)
- Report from the Guardian
- BBC Sport article
- BBC Sport article on the history of similar scandals
- The Sunday Business Post, 16 July 2006, "The Italian Job"
- Italian Website analyzing the scandal
- Juventus shareholders website with documents and analysis on the scandal (ITA)
- Analysis on the controversies surrounding the scandal (in English)