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Wednesday April 10 2013
Moratti puts referees on the spot

Inter have raised suspicions over the validity of the championship. Antonio Labbate looks at whether they are the victims of bad or dishonest refereeing.

The anger and the frustration was as understandable as it was acceptable. The decision to award Atalanta a penalty in their 4-3 win at Inter on Sunday, albeit when the home side were still 3-1 up, was as unjust as it was absurd. Nerazzurro President Massimo Moratti, boss Andrea Stramaccioni and captain Javier Zanetti were right to make their voices heard.

What they said is much more questionable. The idea that there is some sort of plot to damage Inter was a dangerous one to allege, one which was arguably backed up with pretty flimsy evidence. Moratti – who surely recognises mistakes made by his transfer chief Marco Branca and boss Stramaccioni – argued that 21 games without a penalty was enough to warrant an Exhibit A tag. Zanetti’s admission that he didn’t know who was behind the supposed conspiracy highlighted that we’re still in the land of speculation.

Moratti, Stramaccioni and Zanetti have a right to express their opinions, thoughts and concerns. They may be correct, they may be wrong. Tomorrow could enlighten, but today there is no concrete proof. Moratti’s penalty stats are noteworthy, but inconclusive. After all, last term, Juventus moaned about a lack of spot-kicks after receiving just one in their first 32 League games, but that didn’t stop them becoming champions.

The wider issue at the moment is that, for some who are directly involved in the game or for those who watch it, there seems to be a doubt over the legitimacy of Italian whistle blowers. And there are multiple reasons for that.

The Calciopoli scandal of 2006 is still very much in the forefront of the Italian footballing landscape. Sentences may have been passed, but few believe that justice was done. Club officials, including Moratti, continue to maintain their own theories of events over a scandal that still grips the game on the peninsula.

In a country where suspicion has its own DNA marker, it doesn’t take too many bad refereeing decisions to go against you before your inner Woodward and Bernstein is awoken. The fact that Moratti feels that there is something sinister behind the errors which his side have suffered is simply an indication of how poor some of the officiating has been.

There have been some shocking performances this term outside of Inter matches. Chievo-Roma, Fiorentina-Milan and Catania-Juventus are just three examples. Remember the latter, where Catania had a good goal disallowed and Arturo Vidal’s strike should have been cancelled out? President Antonino Pulvirenti is still fuming now, but he’s refusing to back Moratti.

“We’re getting towards the end of the season, where objectives are close and controversies are on the increase,” he stated this week. “But I don’t agree with Moratti, I don’t believe in the bad faith of the referees. And that is coming from me…”

Referee chief Marcello Nicchi stood up for his officials on Monday, claiming that they, like players, will make mistakes. He then suggested that anyone who didn’t believe in the refereeing sector could not be a part of the Italian football system.

The latter portion of his argument was a clear message aimed at Moratti and raises an important question. If Moratti is truly convinced that his Inter side are being targeted for special treatment, then why own a football club? Why invest in an outfit that struggles to net a profit year after year? Why bother trying to win if you don’t think you will be allowed to? Would an atheist go to church and pray to God?

If anything, this latest refereeing storm – which won’t be the last – illustrates that the current refereeing system doesn’t work. Some are just not up to the job and the AIA’s human error defence is too simplistic. The decision to use goal-line assistants needs to be re-examined, match officials need to become fitter, better and stronger. And if that doesn’t work then vociferous club officials need to unite and, if they feel necessary, consider lobbying for the introduction of video technology. Alternatively, they can allow everything to stay as it is and take turns in crying foul.

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Have your say...
Inter needs another Calciopoli to win again Scudetto. Moratti should cure himself for his old chronic illness on how to manage football club which wrong deailings in transfer market and inconsistent managerial position. I am glad that Moratti is back to normal. In last 6-7 years, his chronic illness suddenly was cured in unexpected reasons.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 1:27pm
Well, Morratti knows why he runs a big club as a toy other than a real organization like Milan and Juventus (minus Conte). Morratti needs real advisors to help him censor what he says in public. Inter lack identity and ambition. There is no sign of conspiracy because many teams are suffering. Milan suffered on and off the pitch in Firenze did we go over top?
On a different note, I call upon all Milanisti to support Ancelotti, Ibra and Thiago tonight. Juve? Conte spoils the Seria A solidity!
on the 10th April, 2013 at 1:26pm
Just ask Cristian Vieri which is the most unscrupulous club he has played for. Wire tapping their own players. Getting away with the worst calcopoli infringements due to statute limitations. The only thing that would be more poetic justice that they can't win because teams have shrugged of the effects of calcopoli is that someone is undermining them.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 1:03pm
Forget about Juventus Vs Bayern Munich, what about Juventus V the New England Patriots, Buffon could be the quarter back. In all honest Inters defenders should start grabbing forwards shirts and hauling them to the ground.....we would see if penalties would be given.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:56pm
Inter should have been stripped of all the Scuddetos they on from 1995 to 2005, oh sorry they didn't win any. I repeat my point if they were influencing referees then they were very bad at it because they didnt win any trophies. Making someone else guilty does not clear you of guilt
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:52pm
This blog also fails to mention how every time Moratti complains about a ref. the ref. gets a suspension from officiating games. Let's also not forget that every bad call that goes in Inter's favor Moratti & Strama reply with the usual "we don't comment on referees mistakes" yet every time a call goes against them they go out on a wild goose chase and start another conspiracy theory. The only thing that is news is that Juve are no longer Inter's target this time is Milan whom they seem to blame!
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:52pm
Inter chasing ghosts and blaming everyone but them selfs for their own mistakes! What else is new? I can guarantee that there is not a single club in Serie A that has not been hurt by refs. mistakes. But let's face it every time someone else complaints about the refs. they get fined or suspended from games. Take Moratti he stops short of calling the FIGC and Refs. association a bunch of corrupt idiots and nothing happens.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:46pm
while recent decisions seem to have gone against inter it still seems premature to allure to conspiracy. that being said it is unsurprising to see one allegation of foulplay leading to further fallacies.

inter have never been found guilty of violations with regard to calciopoli. evidence was forwarded by the prosecution after the statute of limitations and therefore no case could go to trial, and no defense was needed.

the above should be noted by would be calciopoli counterconspirators.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:39pm
@daniel Giambrone...great comment! Serie A is full of "actors" from the pitch to the referees. This league like the rest of soccer is full of beting and scandals. This sport will never be clean. Just look at how many games are now under the microscope for the worldwide betting scandal. FIFA will find a way to make this disappear. Im not an Inter fan; but I feel for them. In about 3 years you will hear of a new scandal relating to the 2012-2013 season.
Serie A needs to clean up its act all around
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:32pm
The issue is that Inter are about to realise that from now until the end of the season they may have to use defenders as strikers and that's how bad their situation could get. So they need aaaallll the help they can to not lose every match. Tactic is to get help from referees by complaining. Forza Milan!
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:18pm
For 4 years, every decision went Inter's way, handing them 4 Scudetti as a result. Then evidence comes out that Inter were so involved in Calciopoli that, had the evidence they tried to hide been known prior to the Statute of Limitations expiring, then Inter would have been thrown into Serie C. So, it is easy for Moratti to feel his punishment is coming in the form of penalties against relegation battlers that his poor side can't overcome. But Moratti is wrong. Moratti has a very low football IQ
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:08pm
I am an Inter fan, always will be. There have been some horrible referee decisions against Inter lately, so I can understand Moratti's frustration. Its rare to see Zanetti speak like this.

However, its wrong of Moratti & co to talk about conspiracy, its in poor taste. This is the last thing Serie A needs. Referees will make mistakes, and I agree with Prandelli's approach to this - perhaps the only sensible person in Italian football.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 12:03pm
Juve would be better playing American football where you are allowed to block players by holding their shirts with both hands, the refs can see this but do nothing.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 11:57am
@ Marbh Fhaisc

What exactly is your argument? That Inter paid referees for help, didn't get it and that this is the conspiracy? In that case, yes I would be upset. Inter could perhaps sue for damages. Or better, they could spend money on more beneficial items: good players, am experienced coach, and therapy for Moratti.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 11:49am
Inter are a joke, I think with cassano, palacio and Milito out they will struggle to even make europa league. Poor signings from Inter. Its easy to blame others, you can blame anyone but yourself for losing 4-3 when winning 3-1, and taking 3 goals in 12 minutes. Pathetic Inter as usual.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 11:32am
Whilst the refs have been poor, I do have sympathy for them. The behaviour of the players in Italy really frustrates & embarrasses me. If they are not diving, they are holding their faces in agony or putting their hand to their mouth-when they haven't even been hit there. Then you have all the grabbing in the box. De Rossi & Chiellini are amongst the worst culprits. I just wish that they would man-up & start behaving like professionals, & show some class.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 11:25am
Whats funny is Inter have already returned to what they were before Calciopoli. They removed the opposition, 'won' 4 or 5 free titles and then the wheels started to come off after the CL win in 2010. Less than 5 years at the top. They are back to being a team that changes its players and managers more often than Moratti changes his lawnmower for his Amazon like nasal hair. Then they complain about other teams getting preferential treatment. Time to tap Marotta's phone Massimo?
on the 10th April, 2013 at 11:06am
@moggi, Inter didnt win anything before the 2006 scandal. Would you pay for help for you don't actually get?
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:54am
@ Marbh Fhaisc

Yes I am a Juve fan, well done for spotting that. If Juve are 1-0 up at half time tonight and then lose the game then it may be because of several factors. They may concede four goals at home, or their performance may suffer due to their less experienced squad/coach, or an inability to replace suspended players. If they fail to play with heart and character I will be disappointed. But I will not invent a conspiracy that damages Juve and Calcio because of my own character flaws.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:42am
Seems this old guy already forgotten what was the naples trial final verdict, yes, inter was found guilty doing a violation to article 6 yet they avoid the punishment thanks to 5 years expired rule. I understand if everyone says clas is permanent, but i wonder how come we should say...stupidity is permanent for this time25
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:33am
I am delighted Juventus fans find Moratti so hilarious, all they will need to do is think of him when Bayarn give their side a football lesson tonight.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:30am
@ Anonymous (1)
I agree with most of the article but not that the refs are substandard. Refs have a nearly impossible job every week but when mistakes happen in Italy, it becomes a national scandal...especially when idiots use them as scapegoats for their own incompetence. It's annoying, yes, but it's part of the game. The referring in Italy is no worse than the rest of Europe. Technology would help all round.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:27am
Regarding Calciopoli, let us not forget that Inter did not win anything during the referee buying period so if they were bribing referees as the statute of limitations argument goes, they got very bad value didn't they. I accept the refs human error theory but the decision on sunday night was not human error. What were the odds for Inter to be 1-0 up at half time and lose the game; that is the conspiracy theory.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:25am
If you really want a clear idea of the situation you need to write a blog about all the decisions that have gone against Inter this season and the readers will realise once it is broken down how in nearly every game Inter have either lost the chance to score or conceded a goal due to bad refereeing, this is WAY more then a few bad decisions that other clubs may have recieved one off. There is definitely a subconcious dislike of Anti-Italian Inter and refs find it easy to victimise them.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:15am
You gotta love Moratti. He is tragic. The fact that Inter are not in contention this year is clearly nothing to do with a God-awful poor transfer strategy, an inexperienced coach, or a lack of strength, spirit and commitment. No, its the anti-Inter conspiracy. 
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:07am
The real reason behind Inter's struggles? Look at the January signings of Rocchi and Kuzmanovic. Inter quality? Not even Serie A quality. Moratti's meltdown is hilarious.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:07am
I never wanted to become a perosn that dislikes other teams, but I can't abide Inter. Im a Juve fan and I like Milan and Napoli and all the others, but Inter are a nasty, bitter bunch. They go on and on about conspiracy, and they should have been punished for their role in calcopoli, and they forget that, with their titles of honour and justice. Accept, that like Juve, you must rebuild, the inter squad is not great, it happens, it is time to be proactiev not reactive
on the 10th April, 2013 at 10:02am
Typical, Other clubs/players can speak out against refs and it is said to be jusitifed, and they have the right to make their voices heard, Conte does it and the world erupts to state that he and Juve have no class. Refs make mistakes, and just like a player can have a bad game, and continue to make mistake after mistake in a match, so can a ref, and the next 15 games he gets it right. That is part of the beauty of football, the element of the unknown.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 9:59am
@Losers moan. Why is it a ridiculous article? You seem to be agreeing with it... The writer clearly dismisses the anti-Inter plot theory! And is bringing to question the mistakes made by referees.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 9:09am
What a ridiculous article! Refs have made mistakes but you've picked out 3 games involving bad decisions...how many games have been played in Serie A this year??
Fact is that Inter have been poor and inconsistent this year. Moratti should leave. He's paranoid...after all, this is the guy who stalked Vieri and hid behind the statute of limitations, so he's the last to talk about conspiracies. As you said, Juve got one penalty in 32 last season and still won. The table doesn't lie over a whole yr.
on the 10th April, 2013 at 8:55am

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