The Calciopoli Scandal

‘Calciopoli’ was a match fixing 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 calls showed relations between team managers and referee organizations during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, being accused of selecting favorable referees. This implicated then league champions Juventus and several other teams including AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina. In July 2006, Juventus were stripped of the 2004–05 title, and were downgraded to last place in the 2005–06 championship, the title was subsequently awarded to Inter Milan, and Juventus were relegated to Serie B.

On one end of the line were key figures in Italian football, at the other were refereeing officials. They were allegedly being pressured to favor certain clubs, with the claims only uncovered by chance as prosecutors were investigating claims of doping at Juventus. Then Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi was at the center of the scandal, though he has always denied any wrongdoing. Moggi, Juventus chairman Antonio Giraudo, Italian football federation (FIGC) president Franco Carraro and vice-president Innocenzo Mazzini ended up resigning from their respective roles. The name ‘Calciopoli’, which could be adapted in English as “Footballgate”, by analogy with the infamous Watergate Scandal.

The Punishments

The sanctions
Original punishmentFinal punishmentOther punishments
JuventusRelegated to Serie B, -30 pointsRelegated to Serie B, -9 pointsStripped of 2004-05 Serie A title, downgraded to bottom of 2005-06 table
AC Milan-15 points-8 pointsDeducted 30 points from 2005-06 season
FiorentinaRelegated to Serie B, -12 points-15 points in Serie AOut of 2006-07 Champions League
LazioRelegated to Serie B, -7 points-3 points in Serie AOut of 2006-07 Uefa Cup
Reggina-15 points-11 points€100,000 fine

The relegation of Juventus also prompted a mass exodus of important players such as Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Some thirty other Serie A players who participated at the 2006 FIFA World Cup opted to move to other European leagues in the aftermath of the scandal.

The clubs demoted to Serie B were initially expected to have a difficult road back to the Italian 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 reversed. 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.

Juventus went on to win Serie B in the 2006–07 season and made a swift return to Serie A.

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