PtG Article 26.05.2006

TV host felled for his part in Juventus scandal

Journalists have also played active roles in the Juventus match fixing scandal. Eight journalists are currently under police investigation and last week icon tv host Aldo Biscardi was forced to resign from his hugely popular soccer talk show after allegations that the show had been too favourable to Juventus.

The 75-year old Aldo Biscardi had hosted the programme ”Il Processo di Biscardi” (Biscardi’s Trial) for 26 years, and the programme is among the most influential in Italian football. But the show’s reputation was tainted by publication of phone taps of conversations between him and former Juventus manager Luciano Moggi.

According to the International Herald Tribune the wiretaps show that Moggi influenced the choice of guests on the show, the choice of matches to be analysed, the tone of the criticism and even the results of viewer polls. All with the aim of painting Juventus in a better light.The spotlight also rests on Fabio Baldas, a former referee who acted as an expert commentator on the programme’s analysis of action replays of controversial match incidents. Phone taps of conversations between him and Moggi suggest that Moggi tried to influence the ways such replays were analysed so that it did not seem that Juvents had any favours from referees.On what became his last show, Biscardi tried to rebut the allegations and reassure his audience that he never yielded to the wishes of Moggi. However, the next day he changed his tune and after consulting with the director of the private tv channel La7 Biscardi declared that he needed ”time out for reflection.”A key theme in Biscardi’s shows has been a call for better morals in the world of football and he advocated the introduction of video officials in football like those in other sports such as rugby and cricket. It is ironic then that video replays played a part in his downfall.The tv host is the lastest in a long line of officials who have been forced to resign in the wake of the Juventus scandal. In addition to Moggi and the entire Juventus board, the president of the Italian football federation, Franco Carraro, vice-president Innocenzo Mazzini and Pierluigi Pairetto, head of the Italian referees' association have left their posts. Massimo De Santis, the only Italian referee selected for the World Cup, has been withdrawn from the list. The Italian Football Federation has appointed a former Milan prosecutor, Francesco Saverio Borrelli, as chief investigator into the scandal. Previously he led 'Clean Hands' anti-corruption probes in the early 1990s that exposed many top political and business leaders, and Italian commentators now refer to the football federations’ investigation as ”Clean Feet.”