The Mafia Makes An Offer That The Italian Serie-A League Can Barely Refuse
Some people wonder why I hate Italian soccer so much. Well, if you took away the massive corruption, blatant diving, and viciously racist (and occasionally fascist) fans, I'd really have no problem with it. You know, except that it's still soccer.
Anyway, after today's little episode, let's just say Italian soccer still has a long way to go before it gets on my good side.
That's because in Rome this afternoon Italian police served 10 warrants on individuals (only 7 of whom were found) for their parts in trying to market-rig a bid to buy famed Italian Serie-A team Lazio. Or at least that's what people originally thought.
However, the arrest warrants wound up revealing that the market rigging had actually involved a little more than just, uh, market-rigging. It also involved using funds gained from violence and intimidation. That would be violence and intimidation provided by the Casalesi clan of the Camorra - also known as the Naples-based version of the Mafia.
So, paisano, if you want to piece all of that together, it means that the Naples Mafia was attempting to buy Lazio through an independent third party.
An Italian soccer team owned by the Mafia? Frankly, I thought the whole league was owned by the Mafia, but I'm a bit jaded.
Anyhow, for those of you interested, one of the people they tried to serve an arrest warrant on is former Lazio player and team president Giorgio Chinaglia. Chinaglia played on the New York Cosmos in the 1970s with Pele in the defunct North American Soccer League - probably the one time soccer was ever somewhat popular in this country.
In fact, in 2006 Lazio president Claudio Lotito was given police protection after receiving threats from 'ultra' fans who were allegedly trying to intimidate him into selling the team to the consortium led by Chinaglia. No word if a horse's head was left in Lotito's bed.
But anyway, Chinaglia was knee deep in it with the Mafia. And he's reportedly hiding out in the US. Although, as I've been informed, he has a Sirius radio show called The Football Show. So yeah, I guess hiding out may not be the best term to use.
By the way, way to work on those extradition papers, Italian police.
Anyway, glad to see the Italian soccer league managed to prevent this from happening. Now all they need to do is fix crap like this and maybe I'll speak kinder of it.
Organized crime gang tried to buy Lazio [SoccerNet]