The Internazionale Story : Chapter 4

Sanity Returns – The Mancini/Orialli/Branca Era

In 2004, Roberto Mancini was appointed as the head coach of Inter. Nine years of Jr. Moratti’s tenure was characterized by multiple sacking of coaches. Moratti was known to be a very ‘hands on’ president and bought players on whim without consulting much with the coach. Apart from that, he had favourites in the squad, with whom he maintained a parallel line of communication.

This allowed indiscipline to fester as President’s favourites decided to bend the rulebook whenever it suited them. The most common example was to return late from international break, thus affecting the preparation for the game. In short the club and its president had been reduced to a joke.

SOCCER 2010 - Manchester City vs Blackburn Rovers

Roberto Mancini – Ex-Inter manager

Finally better sense prevailed and Moratti took more of a backseat and allowed his coach to handle affairs of the first team. To help Mancini, two former Inter players joined the staff – Marco Branca appointed as the technical director and Gabriele Orialli appointed as the transfer market consultant.

The Era of Sensible Transfers

Unlike England, where the manager is responsible for all matters corresponding to the team including signing players, such a decision is led by the technical director in Italy. The coach has his inputs, but in most cases it is the choice of the director. This is especially true in case of coaches without much of a reputation.

The trio of Branca-Orialli-Mancio recognized that Inter had great strikers and a good back line, but the midfield lacked strength.

However, the first decision of the trio was full of stupidity. They let go of the Italian captain to their bitter rivals Juventus for a measly ten million Euros and third choice goalkeeper Carini. The summer of 2004 saw the arrivals of Stankovic and Cambiasso. Adriano was recalled from his co-ownership/loan spell at Parma, while Juan Sebastian Veron was signed on a loan deal with Chelsea. Combined with other squad signings like Nicolas Burdisso and Sinisa Mihajlovic – Inter started looking more of a team and less of a joke.

The year 2005 saw the arrival of Luis Figo and Walter Samuel from Real Madrid. While Samuel was rescued from the disaster in Spain and managed to rebuild his reputation as one of the best defenders in the league, Figo enjoyed a mini revival to his career even though he was physically over the hill. Unlike the past, Inter didn’t spend crazy money chasing superstars.

Sports News - October 24, 2008

Adriano (R) at Inter

Slow and steady progress

Powered by the goals of Adriano, Inter finished 2004-05 season in a much stronger position with 72 points, 13 points better than the previous season (The season itself had four additional games as Serie-A now had 20 teams). Fabio Capello in his first season at Juventus managed to win the title (Since revoked), with Milan finishing second.

The next was even better with 76 points, Juventus and Milan again finishing first and second. Steady progress meant that the Mancini project was working and on track. The project however was about to get fast tracked by happenings that will shake the world of Italian Football.

Rivals caught cheating

Since the Giovanni Agnelli era, Juventus had always been rumoured to be getting special favours from Italian authorities. Multiple teams had complained about this in the past but without clear proof. Fiorentina had a chant for Juventus “Meglio secondi che ladri” translated as “Better to be second than be thieves”.

The rumours got stronger since the arrival of Luciano Moggi nicknamed as “Lucky Luciano” in reference to the famous American mobster and Moggi’s dubious past with Napoli. The 1998 version of Derby d’Italia along with a series of refereeing decisions the next couple of years added more fuel to the fire.

All was about to change when in 2006 Moggi made calls asking for referees to be favourable towards Juventus. Calciopoli entered the dictionary of football and sent the world of Calcio into tailspin.

  • Somnath

    Read through the call transcripts again. NONE of the calls have proof that Moggi asked for refereeing favours. Most calls deal with Bergamo informing Moggi, which ref will officiate the next match.

    There were 5 cases against Moggi. 3 he has already won in court, including the swiss SIM card one. The “Moggi-system” was never even proved to have existed & the jusry of that case dissolved the case a long time back.

    At the end, Moggi was punished because of the “exclusivity of the relation” with the referreing head, which could have led to foul play. COULD HAVE. :)

    Bergamo has always maintained that Fachetti, Moratti & Galliani used to call him regularly too. & surprise, surprise, among the 171000 calls recorded (illegally by a company owned by Moratti), there were calls by these guys which somehow were deemed “unimporatant” & didn’t show up in court. Moggi’s lawyers have dug it up, & it goes to court on 14th April. Oh, & Moggi’s call tapes have gone missing apparently.

    Juve were never given a chance to defend themselves, Italian FA was threatened by FIFA to wrap up the case as quickly as possible. Leading to farcical decision of handling the Scudetto to Inter.

    Italian papers are already awash with Moratti’s call tapes for last 2 weeks. Wait & watch, the public will know about Farsopoli.

  • Somnath

    Here’s one of the “incriminating” transcripts. Moggi & Pairetto, president of ref organization.

    Moggi: Hello.
    Pairetto: Hey there, I know you forgot all about me, but I didn’t.
    Moggi: Go on…
    Pairetto: I placed a great referee for the Amsterdam match.
    Moggi: Who?
    Pairetto: Meier.
    Moggi: Great!
    Pairetto: Anyway, it was just to tell you this. You see that I still think about you, even though you don’t anymore…
    Moggi: Don’t start, now you’ll see, when I’m back, that I didn’t forget you.

    Moggi never asks for a specific ref, he gets informed who the ref is.

  • Somnath

    I am not claiming Moggi to be innocent. He isn’t, he has been involved in shady deals for too long. The man has a great eye for talent, but is dishonest. He was part of the Juve scouting system in 70s & brought in players like Tardelli & Scirea. But his shady ways earned him Boniperti’s displeasure, the then Juve president once barring Moggi from entering his house.

    None of the sports directors in Italy are honest. Moggi just grew too powerful & had to be brought down. Juve’s two Scudetti were legit & were taken away without ANY proof of match-fixing in any Juve game. And both titles should have been dissolved, not given to a 3rd placed team.

  • Somnath

    Here’s one more.

    Secretary: Agnelli’s house, good morning.
    Moggi: Good morning, I’m Moggi. I need Nalla.
    Nalla: Hello Luciano.
    Moggi: I need urgently, because we need to do…
    Nalla: Yes.
    Moggi: For an important friend, a Maserati!
    Nalla: Yes.
    Moggi: Four-door.
    Nalla: Four-door?
    Moggi: Yes. We give you a week’s time, ten days, ok?
    Nalla: Ok!

    Enzo: Hello?
    Pairetto: Enzo?
    Enzo: Hello Gigi.
    Pairetto: Listen, I wanted to tell you that I practically have the car.
    Enzo: Which?
    Pairetto: So when we want to go pick it up there is practically available the Maserati.
    Enzo: Come on…
    Pairetti: Yes, therefore…
    Enzo: Madonna!
    Pairetto: Now when I’m back home tomorrow I will call directly the Royal House.

  • Somnath

    The above conversation looks like Moggi is giving a car to Pairetto for giving him a heads up about Meier. It was just giving a piece of info to begin with, nothing illegal.

    This was what actually happened (the next part is credited to gsol a user in Juventuz message board).

    When the tabloids reported on the incident they made it sound like Moggi bought referees with exotic cars (and totally ignored the conversation Galliani and Meani of Milan had where they spoke of Berlusconi paying for a referees hair transplant after Milan-Chievo in some hair clinic in Switzerland). Here’s the real story (it is actually cleared up in the trial documents too):

    When someone orders an exotic it is custom made for the client in order of purchase (if you are the 43rd client you will receive the 43rd model). If you are a VIP you can get your car slightly faster.

    Gigi Pairetto’s son Andrea had ordered himself a Maserati but was becoming impatient as it was taking months more than he expected to get it. Andrea Pairetto is a nobody to Maserati so he couldn’t spped things up. He asked his father Gigi (referee designer) to try and speed things up.

    Gigi called Moggi knowing that Moggi was a FIAT VIP based on his position at Juventus. Moggi then called the directors at FIAT and asked if Andrea Pairett’s order could be sped up. It was…that’s it.

    If a friend of yours asked you for a favour would you not do the same thing? Needless to say that there is nothing illegal about that and Moggi in no way bought a car for anyone. The car was paid for in full by Andrea Pairetto. Moggi just managed to get it to him a month or so sooner because he worked for the same Corporation as a director (FIAT).

    They investigated the model number and the financial trail behind it and it was confirmed that Andrea Pairetto paid for it in full.

  • Vijay

    Moggi’s lawyers now claim to have the transcripts of phone calls between Moratti and Bergamo, the then referee designator.

    If Inter is proved guilty, Roma will be awarded the 05/06 title.

  • How can one forget Milan and Berlusconi’s influence that they used to stay in Serie A with some points penalty and some money which they had in plenty. Juve were never given a chance to defend themselves. Moggi was def a corrupt person but was not the only one!

  • Arvind

    Ha… mention Calciopoli and Juventus fans run scurrying all over trying to either dig dirt on other clubs, or go overboard defending them

    Let me see what I can do here. What Calciopoli did was just scratched the layer of dishonesty and cheating which Juventus had the league covered in. Yes they got punished in the year they should have won. It was unfair on the 2005 and 2006 squads who were definitely the best in the league, But what about the innumerable ones in the past they won courtesy referee help.

  • Arvind

    As always, Juventus fans point out that the conspiracy had something to do with Inter, as Telecom Italia was the one who (possibly illegally) wiretapped conversation. Telecom Italia’s chairman was a known Inter fan. So much for the stretching.

    Lets start with the recordings. 1600 hours of recordings were made available to the Investigators. Yet some of the most innocent looking ones were posted here.

    1) There is recording of Moggi berating Bergamo for not giving him the referee he wanted. The decision caused Juve to draw
    2) Why did Moggi and his cohorts go all the way to Switzerland to procure temporary cards, so as to maintain anonymity.
    3) In 2006 with the country rejoicing in WC triumph, yet there was nobody to support Juventus. All this when the best players in La Nazionale had come from the club. So innocent?

    In 15 years of Moggi’s tenure, Juventus had got themselves in serious trouble 3 times. Yet it was the third time they finally got punished for their deeds. I have full sympathies for the 2005 and 2006 squad, but surely not the club and its hierarchy which brought this upon themselves.

  • Arvind

    Lets revisit the major controversies headed by Moggi

    1) Roberto Baggio: He wanted to leave Fiorentina and go to Milan. Yet his agent without his knowledge signs up with Juventus. Courtesy his autobiography
    2) Doping scandal: in 1996 the multiple players were caught doping. The team doctor was convicted (which got later overturned on a technicality). Yet the club escaped punishment by making the doctor the scapegoat. It is far fetched to believe that the club didn’t know that the docs were doping the players
    3) Referee favours in 1998 Derby d’Italia
    4) Multiple crazy refereeing decisions in 1999. Juventus still lost because of their overconfidence

    5) Moggi got himself acquitted in 2 Calciopoli related cases. Yet our Juventus fans forget that he was convicted of cheating and sentenced to 18 months suspended sentence in Jan 2009 for Corruption charges. Case is still going on in others. Is there an explanation for that?

  • Arvind

    Let me put the final thing in Q&A

    Q:Was Calciopoli about Match fixing
    A: No. Calciopoli was NOT about match-fixing. It was about a club using undue influence over authorities to get themselves favoured referees. There is however no proof that the referees actually affected the result of games. For the latter part we have to believe anecdotal evidence on number of contentious decisions Juventus have received over the years

    Q: Was Inter the best team in 2005 and 06?
    A: No Way. Juventus team was leagues ahead of the rest. They probably would have won without any help from referees. That is the reason why many believe it is unfair to the team. However the club has gained multiple scudettos in the past after getting favoured by referees so for the club it was a fair punishment.

    Q: Was Inter involved in the scandal?
    A: Moratti during the trial mentioned that he had no contact with Bergamo (The referee designator). However the transcripts show otherwise. Bergamo on the other hand mentioned that he got calls from all chairmen.
    What is significantly different is that Moggi’s calls were all about getting favours from Referee, while Fachetti’s calls were remonstrations on bad performance by referees

    Q: What role did Telecom Italia play and what has Inter got to do with it.
    A: Telecom Italia’s COO was Inter’s Vice president. Telecom Italia in many cases illegally intercepted conversations and one of its officials was later jailed for that. For the club however the end justified the means. In this case outing the corruption meant stretching the boundaries of law in many cases.

  • Somnath

    Oooh…wonderful. So now we are judging Calciopoli trials by the transfer Moggi did in the past. Wonderful !

  • Somnath

    Firstly, lets have the years where we have won the “inumerable’ titles by “cheating”, shall we ? I want the years mind you. And please don’t tell me you consider some of the alleged favours by FIGC as “cheating”.

    Secondly, if we have cheated we would have been doing well only in Italy, in the periods that we did well. Unlike some other clubs who failed to reach UCL final since 60s. During Moggi’s period we were the best team in Europe, reaching back to Uefa Cup & UCL finals.

    Thirdly, Inter fans talk about cheating ? How sweet, how about the Liverpool home leg in EC 1965-66 ? Liverpool fans still call Inter cheaters over that. Angelo Moratti had often been alleged to have paid bribes to refs in home games. There’s videos for that too, incase you want to verify. But those are not refereeing favours, innit ?

    Fourthly, doping, now now now, ever heard about La Grande Inter being accused of doping ? A few of the squad players died due to complications which come from doping. There are pending court cases against the Fiorentina team which won a Scudetto in 70s, a case by a widow of player killed by doping side-effects. Doping was much more prevalent in 60s & 70s before all testing started.

  • Somnath

    Lets answer the questions one by one :)

    1)There is recording of Moggi berating Bergamo for not giving him the referee he wanted. The decision caused Juve to draw

    A. That was an exchange of information. As you should know refereeing selections are done on the random basis for Serie A games. This was the reason why the jury itself dissolved the case against “Moggi-system”. FIGC themselves admitted ref selection for Serie A games was NEVER compromised. Unless Inter fans have some extra proof that the jury didn’t come accorss, they are free to reopen the case. “Knowing Juventus cheated” doesn’t count.

    2) Why did Moggi and his cohorts go all the way to Switzerland to procure temporary cards, so as to maintain anonymity.

    A) There was case against Moggi with swiss SIM cards. Moggi proved in the court that those SIM cards were used for keeping secrecy in transfer market. He has already been proved innocent in that case. Those SIMs were not used to influence refereeing selections. Next question please .

  • Somnath

    3) In 2006 with the country rejoicing in WC triumph, yet there was nobody to support Juventus. All this when the best players in La Nazionale had come from the club. So innocent?

    A) Hypothetical. Nobody would come to support the club at that point. Noone knew the full details. Even fans like me had called Moggi names back then. It took 3.5 years to get all these things public. And like I have said before Moggi was not the cleanest player in the world (in case you think I want to prove that), & Juve were hated for their long dominance.

    FYI Juve were never given a chance to defend themselves in court.

  • Somnath
  • Somnath

    Moggi took over as Juve Director in 1994,in a time when we already had a UEFA Cup winning team. We always had strong teams after he took over, thanks to his eye for talent.

    Also Roma, Lazio, Milan won Scudetti in the same period that Moggi was the director. Inter despite spending truckloads won nothing. And lets not even go into UCL.

  • Somnath
  • Arvind

    So which years did Juventus Cheat?

    Lets start
    1) 1998 – The story is oft repeated
    2) 2002 – But it was more of Inter’s fault that we lost it. Juventus did benefit the whole season from some crazy decisions, especially before Christmas.
    3) 2000 – Again so many decisions going in Juv’s favour, but Ancelotti bottled it. Had they won it would have been one of the most disgusting scudettos ever.

    Finally Cheating – There has to be a difference between allegations and team doctor getting convicted and then getting out on a technicality.

    Doping in 60s and 70s was different. Lots of clubs did it for the reason it WASN’T ILLEGAL and nobody knew the long term consequences.

    As regards cheating in 60s by Grande Inter team, especially against the Liverpool team – Laughable to say the least – since when did Inter start an international bribing ring.

    Anyway with Calciopoli getting murkier day by day… I will reserve my last comment after the drama at Naples ends.

  • Somnath

    You mean Barca also paid the ref when Chelsea were denied 3 penalties in last years UCL SF ?

    Chelsea have got lots of dodgy decisions this season, both games against Man Utd, last game against Bolton, FA Cup SF against Villa.

    Are they cheating too ? 😀

  • Somnath

    Your proof : refs giving dodgy decisions, you can at best site videos to prove it.

    My proof : refs giving dodgy decisions to Inter against Liverpool, videos.

    How are those 2 different ? 😉

    And as we can see from Claciopoli trials, things are getting verrryyy interesting 😀

  • Somnath

    Collina giving Inter a 95th min equaliser after Toldo handles the ball from a corner…not cheating at all 😀

  • Somnath

    And I won’t even talk about the doping scandal since Juve has already been proved innocent in that.

  • Haa… Doping and Juventus innocent… FYI the club was cleared because of a mere technicality. Its version said that the doc acted on his own without the club orders. Yup a doctor dopes nearly a dozen players without anyone knowing about it.

    Second point… Yes in a year any club can get dodgy decisions, after all refs are humans. But can someone explain how a single club especially in 97-98 and 98-99 seasons gets series on incorrect calls, some of them blatantly wrong like the Ronaldo one, more so at crucial stages? When its President is known to be putting pressure of refs and players.

    Anyway the news is that FIGC has banned Moggi and Giraudo for life on another technical grounds (Finally technicalities are hurting Juventus). So the triad isn’t returning even though next one from Agnelli clan is back.

  • LippiMerda

    Toldo is a goalkeeper, he can use his hands u dumbass

  • Somnath

    He handled the ball in Juve’s penalty box. He came up for the corner 😛