Italian match-fixing scandal surfaces again

Italian Football Federation officials are awaiting developments in a criminal court case in Naples as they consider opening a new investigation into the match-fixing scandal that rocked the national sport four years ago.

For several days, Italian media have printed alleged phone-tap conversations linking Inter Milan and other clubs to the scandal.

Inter was awarded the 2006 Serie A title after Juventus was stripped of the honor and relegated to Serie B due to its role in the scandal.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Wednesday that Italian Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete and federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi met on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

It’s unclear, however, if the statute of limitations in the case has expired.

The new phone taps came to light as part of the defense of former Juventus executive Luciano Moggi in the Naples case, with Moggi arguing that all the teams were in contact with refereeing officials.

In the purported conversations – as printed in the Gazzetta – Inter president Massimo Moratti is heard talking with referee selector Paolo Bergamo about the match officials for an Italian Cup game that Inter went on to win 3-1 over Bologna in January 2005.

Moratti has rejected the new allegations as "ridiculous and shameful."

Another former Juventus executive, Antonio Giraudo, already has received a three-year sentence from the Naples court on charges of criminal association aimed at committing sports fraud.

Moggi and Giraudo were banned from football for five years by a sports court for influencing the outcome of matches. They deny wrongdoing.

Juventus was stripped of its 2005 and ’06 Serie A titles and relegated to the second division with a nine-point penalty. It immediately won promotion back to Serie A.

The scandal was the biggest corruption case in the history of Italian football. Besides Juventus, three other big clubs – AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina – were penalized, as were Reggina and Arezzo.