Italy's big talking point is set to come to a head in the coming days as the Old Lady reveal whether they will follow through on their plan to add an extra star to their shirtsDEBATE
It was an entirely deserved party in Turin as Juventus celebrated the Scudetto at the weekend in much the same way they had in 2006. This week, though, there were dissatisfied noises coming from some interested observers, with Arrigo Sacchi and Massimo Moratti among the dissenting voices.
The problem related to the number emblazoned on the bottles of champagne used to toast the Bianconeri's magnificent season. The number was 30, rather than 28. And now, with talk from director general Giuseppe Marotta and president Andrea Agnelli of a third star being sewn into the Juve shirt to commemorate their 30th title, it seems that clear signs are being sent from Vinovo. They still consider the two titles they had revoked to be rightfully theirs.
But should they? While the FIGC chief prosecutor Stefano Palazzi stated last year that Inter were among a number of clubs who were guilty of sporting fraud on much greater levels than Juve were, the Statute of Limitations in Italy means that the designations of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 Scudetti remain as dictated by the 2006 Calciopoli trial. Therefore, while there is massive evidence that the Bianconeri's titles should not have been stripped - at least not in the favour of Inter as happened with the second Scudetto - there is nothing that can be done about the situation legally.
It all leaves a huge black hole in the Serie A roll of honour. For 2005, there remains a void, while for 2006, one of the apparent guilty parties is identified as the league champions. But Juve continue to regard them both as their triumphs, having won both on the pitch and having been deemed relative innocents, albeit five years after they were originally fingered for the crime.
Gianluigi Buffon left the whole debate unanswered earlier this week, as he expressed his opinion on the matter while giving a nod to official figures. "I have won five titles and Juve 30," said the Italy captain. "But I have been assigned three and Juve 28. But everyone makes their own calculations." Meanwhile, his coach Antonio Conte sidestepped the questions about the correct tally by simply saying: "For me it is Scudetto number one as coach."
|I would even be willing for Inter to give up the 2006 title and have it left unallocated if it stopped Juve dwelling on the past
- Don Nerazzurri, NerazzurriWorld.com
But if the behaviour of Buffon, Pavel Nedved, Mauro Camoranesi or Alessandro Del Piero is understandable, what are the real opinions of the likes of Leonardo Bonucci - who was with Inter in 2006 - or Marotta - then director general of Sampdoria? Outwardly, they have joined the fight for the retention of the two stripped crowns. Rather than making a political statement based on their opinions of the time, are they just trying to curry favour with Juventini?
It is also not as easy as just unofficially allowing the Bianconeri to recognise the titles as their own, since one of them was awarded to Inter, and Nerazzurri fans feel it is time Juve were reminded they were in the wrong.
"Now the Old Lady has won the 2011-12 Scudetto it seems that she is suffering from senile dementia, as both the club and the fans seem to have forgotten that they've had two titles revoked!" says Don Nerazzurri, of NerazzurriWorld.com. "According to all the records now they have won 28 - not 30, and therefore have no legitimate claim to add the third star."
But Don Nerazzurri believes that there may well be one gesture which could be made that would see Juve finally back down on their claims to the two titles in question.
"As a fan of Inter, the club that was awarded their revoked 2006 title, I am so against their ridiculous claims of holding 30 Scudetti that I would even be willing for Inter to give up the 2006 title and have it left unallocated like the 2005 one if it stopped Juventus dwelling on the past and they just enjoyed the latest title as their 28th," he said.
"Obviously I'd prefer for that not to have to happen, and they could never be forgiven for the things they've said and done. But now it's time for them to just accept they were in the wrong and look to the future."
But what about Juve fans? Why do they believe they have the right to add a third star on their replica shirts next season? JuventiKnows writer John Cascarano believes that the conspiracy against the Old Lady should be recognised, and the extra star should be allowed, especially given that the use of stars is not regulated by the FIGC.
|If Juve want to add another star to their own insignia, they will. If they wanted to add a silhouette of Luciano Moggi smoking a cigar, they could do that as well
- John Cascarano, JuventiKnows
"That alone should make the entire debate moot. If Juve want to add another star to their own insignia, they will. If they wanted to replace the silhouette of the bull on the center of the patch with a silhouette of Luciano Moggi’s face smoking a cigar, they could do that as well," says Cascarano.
"During the first, rushed Calciopoli trial in 2006, transcripts were selectively entered into evidence in what can arguably be construed as a deliberate attempt to skew perception against Juventus. The Bianconeri, as it turns out, were never guilty of Article 6 match-fixing violations but, at worst, Article 1 – the creation of an appearance of impropriety – a standard so low that any defence attorney would cringe at the mere thought. And that isn’t even getting into any of the evidence regarding other teams’ involvement.
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"The bottom line is that the entire reason that they’re 'officially' recognised as having only won 28 titles is farcical to begin with. A few strands of golden thread is a very small fee to pay the team who alone paid for everyone else’s sins. It’s frankly insulting for the FIGC to try to stop this."
And so, it is clear that the argument will go on over the validity of a third star, regardless of whether one is added to the Juventus badge next seaon. Is it time for the FIGC to admit they can do nothing to stop a star being added, especially in light of prosecutor Palazzi's verdict last year? Or should the Bianconeri face the fact they were one of several clubs in the wrong and as such do not have a right to claim either of the two revoked titles?
The debate continues.