Saturday, 12 May 2007

Ex-director accuses Juve

The FIGC has called on former Juventus director Maurizio Capobianco to testify after claims the club gave expensive gifts to referees, the Federation and fans.

The scandal erupted when Capobianco, who worked for the Bianconeri from 1984 to 2005, made the allegations in an interview with newspaper ‘La Repubblica.’

"The Investigation Committee of the FIGC will ask Mr Capobianco to confirm what he knows, ascertaining if these facts really occurred and who are the people involved," said a statement from investigator Francesco Saverio Borrelli. "We hope that the former Juventus employee will want to collaborate to prove if his accusations are founded."

If the Committee is not satisfied that there is real truth to these allegations, then Capobianco risks severe punishment for defamation – with Juventus already announcing they will seek legal advice.

"Only at the start of 2005 did I find out about at least four occasions in which Juve gave expensive items, of around £10,000 each, to two Italian referees, a member of the FIGC and one of the Covisoc," Capobianco was quoted as saying in ‘La Repubblica.’

"These were handed over via a third party who were somehow related to the referees. These incidents go back to the start of the Antonio Giraudo and Luciano Moggi administration in 1995."

The Calciopoli scandal has only analysed the years 2004-05 and 2005-06, so this could in theory open up another trial.

"Why do I speak out now? Because before Calciopoli what I saw where fragments of an affair that only came together to create meaning afterwards. Only now do I realise how they ruined a club with a 100-year history with the complicity of referees, journalists and the institutions."

Capobianco also alleged that Juventus gave contracts to companies close to certain journalists for communication projects that "if Juve won the Scudetto, would be paid for, but never developed."

He then insisted that the Semana srl company that in July 2003 took 30 per cent of Juve’s shares was "used by Moggi and Giraudo to indirectly finance the Ultras. On the balance sheet there are entries for tens of thousands of Euros per match to buy choreographies, banners and all sorts."

Perhaps even more importantly for a club that could gain automatic promotion into Serie A next week, Capobianco insists that the departure of Moggi and Giraudo has changed nothing.

"Today Alessio Secco makes all the decisions – the same man who in the past never moved a finger without Moggi’s consent. Renato Opezzi remains, having always been Giraudo’s right-hand man. Financial Director Michele Bergero and Marketing Director Fassone are still there. They call it the new Juve, but it’s the same faces."

As a final blast, Capobianco told ‘La Repubblica’ newspaper that Moggi had silenced even UEFA.

"I was stunned at how they managed to cover up a case when a player tested positive for cannabis. UEFA discovered it in 1997, told the FIGC and that was where it ended."

Late Friday night Juventus released a statement denying all Capobianco’s allegations, pointing out these statements were aimed at swaying public opinion, as he is already involved in a legal challenge with the club.

"The Bianconeri therefore intend to confront Capobianco in the appropriate venue. Juventus also confirm they have total faith in the organisation structure set out in November, one that has all the requisites to consent a correct and professional running of the club and to carry on the development proposals approved by the Board of Directors."

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