Capello's No 2 Subjected to 'Mafia Threat' in Italian Court

By Wallace, Sam | The Independent (London, England), April 1, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Capello's No 2 Subjected to 'Mafia Threat' in Italian Court

Wallace, Sam, The Independent (London, England)

Fabio Capello's England assistant Franco Baldini was the subject of an extraordinary Mafia-style threat in a Rome court yesterday from Luciano Moggi - the man at the centre of Italian football's match-fixing scandal. The England manager was there to witness the threat by Moggi, whom the court's judge threatened with expulsion.

The investigation into the corruption scandal, which has already resulted in Capello's former club Juventus being stripped of two league titles, came alight yesterday when Moggi, the club's former general manager, set eyes on Baldini. In court Moggi made a gesture with his arm stretched in front of him and his palm facing towards the ground - a crass threat in Italian society that Baldini should be careful what he said or face the consequences.

Rather than back down, Baldini - the only one of the Italians in Capello's England coaching set-up who speaks fluent English - approached Moggi. He is reported to have said to him that "since you have 18 lawyers working for you, why don't you use one of them instead?" Later Moggi, who had already been banned from football for five years, apologised for his conduct in court.

The urbane Baldini, 47, whose official Football Association title is "general manager" is regarded as one of the best talent-spotters in world football. He worked for Capello at Roma where he was technical director from 1999 to 2005 and during that period was in direct competition with Moggi's Juventus when it came to signing players. Some of those players were clients, or had links to, the Gea World agency run by Moggi's son Alessandro which is a key part of the scandal and the focus of yesterday's court case.

Over the past two years Luciano Moggi has been hit with a range of allegations that have stunned Italian football. His alleged attempts to influence games in Juventus' favour have included corruption involving referees, players, managers and television executives. The trial involves six men, including Moggi and Davide Lippi, son of the World Cup-winning coach Marcello, who are accused of using threats and violence to influence games.

Capello and Baldini were both in Rome's criminal court - the Tribunale Penale - yesterday to answer questions on statements they had given earlier on the Gea agency. Capello was later told that he may or may not be charged with "reticence" - or withholding information - by the judge. It is punished, in the most severe circumstances, with a six-year jail sentence, although that outcome is highly unlikely in Capello's case.

In a statement, Capello's lawyers later said that they were "surprised" by the decision and that the England manager had passed on all the information he had.

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Capello's No 2 Subjected to 'Mafia Threat' in Italian Court


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