The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Probably not. You know how these things go. But it can’t be warming the cockles of Brian Barwick’s Mr. Belvedere-sized heart to know that the England coach, already under investigation for tax evasion in Italy, is now being investigated for perjury in connection with yet another sensational legal case involving corruption in Italian football.
At issue here is the player agency run by Alessandro Moggi, the son of former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi, who figured heavily in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal of 2006. The charge this time is that Moggi’s agency, GEA Sports, gained an illegal hold over the Serie A transfer market by intimidating players into leaving their current agents and signing with GEA. To round things off nicely, one of the other men charged in the case is Davide Lippi, whose father, Marcelo Lippi, is widely suspected of having coached the Italian national team to a win in the 2006 World Cup.
Fabio Capello, who worked with Luciano Moggi when he was the coach of Juventus from 2004 to 2006, isn’t accused of collaborating with the conspiracy, but of lying to prosecutors about his knowledge of it when he testified in March. Since his answers mostly involved claiming not to remember anything related to the scandal, it’s hard to see how a perjury charge could be made to stick. Then again, raise your hand if you really believe that Capello has a bad memory.
If tried and convicted, Capello could face a prison sentence of up to six years. Again, it’s unlikely to happen—we’ve all watched enough HBO to know that what transpires on the surface of a story like this is usually just a semaphore contrived by someone to influence events underneath—but the FA must be regretting all those “Don Fabio” and “Godfather” headlines that welcomed Capello to England a few months ago. A man’s nickname is his fate, and a Dostoevskian sense of justice creeping closer isn’t going to help anyone hit their semifinal targets.
Fun fact for corruption buffs: It was the Italian authorities’ investigation into the GEA scandal that led them to discover the Calciopoli affair in the first place.
Readers in Italy who know much more about all this than I do: Are warmly encouraged to leave their thoughts in the comments.
by Brian Phillips · May 8, 2008