The decision to put a former Clean Hands prosecutor in charge of the Italian Soccer Federation’s (FIGC) investigations office has sparked a political storm. In his new post, Francesco Saverio Borrelli, 76, will be in charge of presenting the case at sporting tribunals for penalties against Milan and the other teams, Fiorentina, Lazio and reigning champion Juventus, which is in the hottest water. 71 clubs are under investigation for false accounting in 41 transfer deals. Juventus risks being dumped from Serie A and the European Champions League and stripped of the 2006 and 2005 titles because the match-fixing probe centres on its former general manager, Luciano Moggi. Fiorentina and Lazio are also in danger of being demoted to Serie B and losing their places in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup respectively. Pundits predict Milan will be hit with a deduction of league points, at worst. Borrelli headed the Milan probe into the Clean Hands corruption scandal, which swept away much of Italy’s political establishment in the early 1990s. Rightwing politicians expressed dismay that Francesco Saverio Borrelli has been given this key role. According to parts of the Italian Right, the Clean Hands investigations were used by left-leaning magistrates to hit figures on the other side of the political spectrum. ‘What happened to politics will happen to Italian soccer; it will be the end of soccer,’ said Gaetano Pecorella, the former head of the House Justice Commission and the lawyer of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Centre-left politicians, on the other hand, welcomed his appointment. ‘There is no doubt about Borrelli’s professional qualities and I’m sure these will be of precious help for Italian soccer, which is going through a delicate period of change,’ said Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri. Borrelli promised that he will be ‘absolutely neutral’.
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