Pretty shocking comments on Tuesday from Italian Premier Mario Monti who suggested that Italian soccer be suspended for two to three years after the latest match-fixing scandal.
Dawn raids on Monday resulted in 14 arrests, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, to bring the total number of suspects arrested in the match-fixing inquiry to about 50 since last year. Many more have been placed under investigation.
“Football should be stopped for two to three years,” Monti said on Tuesday in a powerful message to Italy’s soccer authorities on the need to clean up the game. “It is not a proposal by the government but a question I am asking as someone who was passionate when football was still football.”
“I’m not making a proposal, and even less is it a proposal that comes from the government, but it’s a desire that sometimes I feel inside me: That it would really benefit the maturity of us Italian citizens if this game was completely suspended for two to three years.”
Football in Italy is big business, but these are not the idle threats of a small politician looking for publicity. This is the leader of the country speaking and his comments have to be taken seriously. Suspending Serie A for two or three years though would be death knell to football in Italy. All the best players would flee and many clubs would not resurface when the suspension ended.
But after two match fixing scandals in six years, I can understand Monti’s comments. Somebody needs to clean up the game in Italy and maybe shutting down the sport for a season or two is a way to do that. What do you think about Calciopoli II.
Police swept through the Italian national squad’s training camp near Florence on Monday as part of the operation and Italy defender Domenico Criscito was left off the Euro 2012 squad after he was placed under investigation.
According to the Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi, the dawn raid to search Domenico Criscito’s room “shocked” the squad. Leonardo Bonucci, a Juventus defender, is also expected to face questioning.
“This time is worse than in 2006,” said De Rossi. “This time is more shocking as the police came to Coverciano [the training camp] and people I know have been arrested.”
Antonio Conte, who coached Juventus to the Serie A title this term, was also officially notified that he is under investigation for alleged wrongdoing while in charge of Siena in 2010-2011.
The raid and arrests is THE story in Italy ahead of this summer’s Euros. Will it distract the Italians, or will they use it as motivation as they did with Calciopoli I in 2006 and go and win a tournament.