July 30, 2006

Paradiso to Inferno: A long two-part explanation of the Moggi-Juventus scandal in Italy.

posted by sic to soccer at 11:22 AM - 7 comments

That piece (which is excellent, by the way) makes the large-scale corruption of the sport sound so ... possible. It sounds like Moggi was acutely aware of the fact that some games are more important, not just because of playoffs or standings implications (though of course that's a consideration), but also from a fandom standpoint. He managed to make himself into the Godfather of Italian sport, and he had everyone either in his pocket, on his side or merely afraid to cross him. And the point that's made in the very first paragraph is telling: he's serving out his suspension in opulence. He may have gotten caught arranging favorable situations for Juve, but he's far from the big loser here. Juve's fans. fans of Italian soccer, they're the big losers. The way the story breaks it down, this could very easily happen again. All you need is a tough sonofabitch with good people skills, enough ambition & organizational chops, and a gaping hole where his moral code should be, and we could easily see this again. And again.

posted by chicobangs at 01:01 PM on July 30

Well, it's business as usual, as they said in the article.

posted by igottheblues at 03:47 PM on July 30

In Tim Parks A Season With Verona, a book as irritating as it is brilliant, he comments all the way through that most of Italy simply accept that the game is corrupt and while it is irritating, it is a simple fact of life. If the game is as corrupt as Parks suggests, I don't really have any sympathy with Juve fans; they were not complaining too loudly when it was all going their way.

posted by Fat Buddha at 04:27 PM on July 30

Sadly the Tim Parks book is echoed by The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinniss where the author follows a lower division team through the season that includes match fixing, racism, etc.

posted by outsidemid4 at 08:15 PM on July 30

a book as irritating as it is brilliant Sums up everything he has written. I consider him to be the European version of David Foster Wallace. The SpoFi Book Club is now open. /Goes back to the paperback edition of Europa.

posted by owlhouse at 08:20 PM on July 30

What I found most interesting about this piece is the insight into Italian culture. Like you say chicobangs, you can easily see how the ingrained cultural desire to "put your interests first and foremost always" can easily spiral out of control when it is systematically applied by someone with great influence like Moggi. Oh, and an even better example of this is of course Berlusconi himself. Club owner, media tycoon and Prime Minister? Wtf? By the way, a similar cultural situation played itself out in Argentina with the insanely corrupt presidency of Carlos Menem. Ironically, even after all the corruption nearly crushed Argentina's economy forever, Menem was almost re-elected in the election that Kirchner won. In "picaresque" cultures like Italy and Argentina, people respect a man who has the balls to "get away with it". They see their own desires reflected in that person. That is until the economy comes crashing down, or, in this case, the dignity of a cherished sport is tarnished.

posted by sic at 05:12 AM on July 31

I too found Parks' book somewhat frustrating. Call me a philistine, but I wanted to read about Italian football, not have to plough through sections on Italian culture.

posted by squealy at 05:44 AM on July 31

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