This post was guest-blogged by ANTONIO CORSA, contributions by Gabriele Capasso.
English translation by atomoh (corrections by Marco Pantanella)
As the appeals proceedings unfold this week, in a painstaking effort to make us understand all there is to understand (or rather, not understand) about how the CALCIOSCOMMESSE scandal involves Antonio Conte, and particularly the case mounted by federal prosecutor Stefano Palazzi on the match Novara-Siena, Antonio Corsa (of the excellent uccellinodidelpiero.com) deconstructs and analyzes the statements of all players involved (particularly those of Filippo Carobbio), going to show us just how fragile this deck of cards really is.
A masterful example of investigative journalism, for all those with the patience to read it all the way to the end.
Making sense of nonsense takes that, and more…
Originally published in Italian in two parts, here and here.
Originally published on August 10, 2012
Warning: the article — by force of circumstance — is quite long and I apologize, but I prefer writing only ONE article and it to be “conclusive”, full of details so as to leave nothing to chance. I will do so by using the protagonists’ statements, as taken from the transcriptions of the questionings themselves, carried out in front of the Prosecutor of Cremona and the Sport Prosecutor (Palazzi).
I will use an old technique: I will chop up the statements (made at different times) of the protagonists (Carobbio especially) and, by sorting them by subject, will try to get one FULL & unique VERSION (even a contradictory one) of the facts. I will then proceed to analyze it.
Let us get started.
Carobbio, 29/02/2012: “For Novara-Siena played on April 30, 2011, there was an agreement to make the match end in a draw.”
Carobbio, 29/02/2012: “We talked about it (the agreed draw – Ed.) during the technical meeting and therefore we (players and staff – Ed.) were all aware of the fix, especially in order to act accordingly during the match.”
Pay immediate attention to his justification, “especially in order to act accordingly during the match”. We’ll get back to it later.
Carobbio, 17/04/2012, “The players learned about the agreement at the technical meeting that preceded the game”
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “In essence Conte merely said that we would draw the game and that an agreement for the draw had been reached.”
This, in short, is the revelation of the former Siena player and THAT is the reason why Antonio Conte, then coach of the Tuscan club, ended up being tried for.
Let us try to understand more. I will list for you, in particular, all the statements that may help us understand WHO reached an agreement for a draw and the specific role Conte played.
Carobbio, 29/02/2012: “I’m not sure who first came to an agreement, however Drascek (Novara player – Ed.) came to our hotel during the training camp and spoke to Vitiello (Siena player – Ed.). I think that was the first contact.”
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “I do not know who exactly took part to the closing of this deal.”
Yes, believe it or not, THIS is it. All that sports prosecutor Palazzi holds in his hands are — you have to see it to believe it — two statements of Carobbio “seeing” (without actually hearing) two former teammates, Drascek and Vitiello, meeting at the hotel. Carobbio imagines/assumes that this could be the time the agreement was made (because damnit, someone must have reached this bloody agreement, right? Obviously not Carobbio himself, God forbid!).
Let me remind you that Novara has an artificial turf and, because of it, Siena began their pre-match training camp a day before (compared to their usual schedule) in order to test the pitch during training. This, at the same time, demonstrates both the good faith of Conte’s team, who carefully looked after these aspects in detail so as not to leave anything to chance, and the fact that the players had an “extra” day at their disposal, maybe even to meet up. As indeed happened.
I will not report Drascek and Vitiello’s statements verbatim (also because those with lynch mob spirit could say that “they lied in order to avoid admitting the crime”; we’ll get back to this though, because in that case the same should also apply to Carobbio…). I will just say that, obviously, although acknowledging the meeting, the two players denied discussing any sort of match fix.
Palazzi however, despite the total absence of evidence, blindly believes this meeting “without any doubt” coincides with the moment in which, at least in part, an agreement for ending the match in a draw was reached. So much so that he draws up charges of sport fraud (i.e. he accuses them of such crime) against the two players, Drascek and Vitiello. There is no doubt for Palazzi therefore, that the match fix for the draw came from them, notwithstanding Carrobbio’s aforementioned “I do not know who exactly was involved in this agreement”, “I am not sure about…” and “I think that…” statements. For the sport prosecution this is obviously more than enough to set up a crime.
But Conte? How does HE come into play? And above all, when?
If the draw was organized by Drascek and Vitiello (as Palazzi says it was) who, if anyone, is behind them? Is there anyone telling them to fix the match? This is unknown. It would be quite important (nay, crucial, I would say) to know. Otherwise: do these two indididuals autonomously decide to make a draw happen? Why? For the love of their respective teams’ rankings? Did the teams know? And again: would have someone (who?) reported the fix to Conte who – accepting the agreement (which would constitute a clear crime… certainly not a mere “failure to report”) – announced it during Siena’s technical meeting with staff and players? It is not even known who this “someone” could be. Nothing, and no questions are asked about it. And this too, I think, is far from irrelevant.
In short: holes everywhere.
★ ★ ★
Let us play a game for a bit: forget about this meeting for which, as we saw, there is no evidence, and pretend it never happened (or rather, as the two players say, that it was only an exchange of greetings). Let’s start from another statement. Again, I will not quote people who could have an interest in lying, as this seems to be the only “defence” the lynch mob are using. Have a read what Gervasoni, the other “extremely reliable” (as Galdi from Gazzetta dello Sport describes him) “pentito“ in the hands of the federal prosecutors, has to say about this game.
Gervasoni, 12/03/2012: “The ‘Gypsies’ (Gegic and Ilievski – Ed.) made contact with both Carobbio, who at the time played for Siena, and Bertani, who was then playing for Novara. As far as I know, Carobbio at some point told Gegic that the two teams had reached an agreement with reference to placing a bet on an ‘over’. I believe this took place shortly before the game.”
(The words in this statement were fully confirmed by Gervasoni on 13/04/2012)
So Gervasoni, a “very reliable” pentito who would have no reason to lie as he has not taken part, either directly or indirectly, to the match fixing (he is not accused of anything), reports having learned from Gegic, a gambler (which he calls “Gypsy”), that the ‘over’ had been agreed between Carobbio and Bertani, and that Carobbio reported it to the gypsies to allow them to gamble and, consequently, to collect his share.
This statement, for some reason, is not taken into rightful consideration by Palazzi. Yet, for example, in the previous charge Palazzi does the opposite: he believes Gervasoni but not Carobbio, who tries to smooth his position by lying (Palazzi’s words) about everything, including the fact he received a sum of money for his collaboration with the gypsies. A liar across the board, in other words. Then, a couple of pages later, it’s Gervasoni to be shown as a liar and Carobbio returning a (semi)reliable witness (we will see why “semi”). All this based on what? How can a method where, in one occasion, you believe someone, and in an another one someone else? And where a pentito, although lying, is still believed for later statements?
Let’s stop for a second here though, and check the dates: Gervasoni “introduces” the ‘over’ on March 12, 2012. Up to then, Carobbio only talks about the agreed draw and not about the ‘over’. A month later Carobbio is forced to answer to Gervasoni’s declarations, speaking specifically about the ‘over’ and the involvement of Gegic and Ilievski.
Here are his statements:
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “When Gegic and Ilievski contacted me to offer me the ‘over’, I did not know about the conclusion of the deal yet.”
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “Gegic and Ilievski contacted me, I think, the night before the game.”
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “Of course that was a game which the position of two teams in the standings made it practically certain that there would be a draw.”
Carobbio thus claims that the draw “was already known” (not clear how, why, or by whom) and that it was almost a sure result, but that he did not know anything about the match fix until it was communicated directly by Conte at the technical meeting. He goes so far as to claim this:
Carobbio, 10/07/2012, “when Conte informed us of an agreed draw, none of us was surprised all that much, because during the week there was already a rumour in the dressing room according to which that game could have ended with an agreed outcome.”
So before or after this, Carobbio knew nothing about the ‘over’. The poor thing: he had nothing to do with it of course! Gervasoni must have dreamed it, and the Gypsies probably contacted him (using an Egyptian SIM card, no less) only to say hello.
In short, despite the (our) doubts, Palazzi believes a version full of holes, based on “I do not know who”, “not sure” and “I think” by someone who – out of interest – denies any responsibility and accuses someone else, is more credible that the version of someone who – without any personal interest (but being equally “very reliable”) – reveals what he learned on match fix. For money, not for the glory.
Palazzi (this time around) believes Carobbio. The same guy who claims, falsely, that he had not any relation with the gypsies in Siena. But oh yes he did, even up to the Novara game he did. So how can such a character be reliable? Could it be that – maybe – Gervasoni was the one we should believe instead of Carobbio?
We could, I believe, close the case here already, because – in the absence of any evidence – even just the fact of being able to legitimately interpret everything in a opposite way to what was done by Palazzi would be enough to demonstrate how fragile and “interpretable” his accusatory system is. But let us go on.
Summoned in July and in obvious trouble due to the lack of evidence, Carobbio tries to add further details about the technical meeting. Let’s see how.
Carobbio, 10/07/2012: “I will specify the coach informed us that the game would end in a draw and I well remember that right before the match, he decided to exclude Sestu (Siena player – Ed.) who, at that time, was always in the starting eleven; I remember this situation clearly because it never happened before, after the technical meeting and immediately before the match, for the coach to change his line-up, especially excluding a first-string player.”
If you’re not quite clear on what this could possibly prove, don’t worry: you’re not the only one. Carobbio tries, I think, to “prove” to the investigators (and therefore to the Disciplinary Commission) that he remembered that meeting very well by adding some details. When summoned by the sport prosecutor 3 days later Sestu, a player who was not involved in this match and therefore has no interest in lying (unlike Carobbio, who was involved), states:
Sestu, 13/07/2012: “The starting line-up is officially announced at the technical meeting before the game, but during that week you could already tell which players could have been starting the match.”
Sestu, 13/07/2012: “That week I was not inserted into the line-up.”
Sestu, 13/07/2012: “Anyway it was a period in which I was not playing with continuity.”
In short, whatever the reason, the “very reliable” Carobbio is also proven wrong by the player called by him to (his) rescue. And, I stress it since it is important, he did not have any particular interest to lie, quite the opposite (that was the moment, if ever, to pour out all the possible hatred and disappointment against Conte, confirming the story of the technical meeting: wasn’t it?).
What happens next? Little by little, all the witnesses called by Palazzi on the matter declare how, during that technical meeting, Conte actually motivated the team and even held one of the most beautiful speeches ever of his experience at Siena… fixed draw my ass! And when I say everyone I mean *everyone*, from the first to the last: there isn’t a single person confirming, directly or indirectly, that Conte instructed the team on the draw, as argued instead by Carobbio. Not even one. I will not cite them because, as usual, the lynch mob considers them statements coming from “parties involved” and not witnesses. But beyond everything, they are something to think about and certainly do not help the prosecution, which at this point still possesses no evidence.
As I was saying, at this point during his last questioning session, Carobbio talks about the (now) famous Conte speech, which he had previously ignored, and says:
Carobbio, 10/07/2012: “I remember the technical meeting very well , because the coach, after telling us that an agreement for a draw had been reached, spoke little about the match and its technical aspects but made a very emotional speech on his career instead, in relation to the goal that our team would soon achieve. Indeed, once we’d gotten the point for the draw agreed in this match, we would have only needed one more point in the next 4 games in order to be mathematically sure of promotion. I remember the speech well because it was very exciting, and quite unusual in a meeting before the match that we would not talk about those technical aspects the coach always looked after in an almost maniacal way.“
Once again: all the players interviewed, even those who are not under investigation and/or without personal interest, prove Carobbio wrong, stating the match was prepared as usual and Conte actually cared for it in a special way (see for example the detail of the extra day of training to test the artificial turf). I quote again Sestu, who perhaps is – among the players summoned by the prosecution – the one with the least personal interest at stake (in fact, Conte left him out of that game, something which disappointed him at the time: he could have easily disavowed him seeking revenge).
Sestu, 13/07/2012: “The coach always wanted to win but it is certain that a draw would have anyway been for us a positive result. Conte made reference to the ranking specifying that we had to win this game, or at least should not lose it.”
Sestu, 13/07/2012: “In my opinion the speech (Conte’s – Ed.) was unambiguous and I categorically rule out that Conte may have made reference to an agreement reached between the two teams for a draw.”
Nevertheless, despite 23 statements gathered by Conte all with the same content and all proving Carobbio wrong, Palazzi still believes the player’s version and, although he does not know who informed Conte and why, amazingly transforms a potential CRIME in “failure to report” it. All the while not charging any of the 23 attendees who, if we believe Carobbio’s version, would all be guilty of “failure to report”. Why? Unknown.
★ ★ ★
Let’s go back: Gervasoni mentions the agreement for the ‘over” with the gypsies. Carobbio denies it. You know what’s funny about it? That, although Carobbio doesn’t admit his own responsibility, Palazzi charges him of sporting fraud. In short: Carobbio is “very reliable” when he accuses someone else, but he is not while defending himself. If that seems normal to you…
Let us see why Carobbio is accused of sporting fraud. It is almost an own goal, in fact.
Carobbio, 29/02/2012: “I remember that, in addition to talking about it with the entire team during the technical meeting, I spoke about it individually on the pitch to Bertani and Gheller of Novara, before the game.”
Carobbio refers to the draw, not to the ‘over’ (as referred to by Gervasoni). So even though Conte had reassured and even coached the team on the draw, Carobbio speaks with two Novara players. Coincidentally, one of the two is the same Bertani who, for Gervasoni, combines the ‘over’ with Carobbio.
Question: could it just be that the draw was not agreed upon previously (as everyone seems to be saying) and it was just then, at that precise moment, that the “real” crime was committed?
That is not only my opinion. Those three are accused of sporting fraud, not of failure to report it. Do the math.
Palazzi, with a reasoning more twisted than a Saw movie script, manages to make the statements of Carobbio (who says “I am not involved, I’ve heard it from Conte”) all coexist, to ignore Gervasoni’s statements, and to still charge Carobbio of sporting fraud for a meeting he had with Novara players after Conte’s technical meeting. How that is possible, I have no clue. What is certain is that accusing Carobbio of sporting fraud helps Palazzi, because this way he can make him look like a pentito instead of an “accuser”. But a pentito, as we have seen, he is not.
Here is what Carobbio adds later, concerning the pre-match meeting.
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “When I say to have spoken on the pitch with Bertani and Gheller of Novara I mean that before playing I asked for a sort of confirmation of the agreement (Which? The draw or the ‘over’? – Ed.) which however had already been reached.”
That does not look like a confession.
In fact, he adds in his own defense:
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “I only came on in the last ten minutes.”
THIS at least, MUST be true! Actually, no. Carobbio came on in the 72nd minute and – by pure coincidence – two minutes later Novara found the 2-2 equalizer. A header scored by a player (Ludi) jumping 2 meters above… Carobbio (it wasn’t his fault, mind you: it’s all “pure coincidence”).
★ ★ ★
Finally, there is a statement made in the last questioning of July 10, adding another detail.
Carobbio, 10/07/2012: “I remember that during the game, as I was warming up on the sideline with my teammate Larrondo, he asked, being a young boy and a foreigner, in light of what was said by Conte in the technical meeting, what he should do if the coach let him play. I reassured him and told him to go in and run around without scoring.”
I am not going to report here Larrondo’s statements, who denies both that Conte mentioned the draw during the technical meeting, and that he asked Carrobbio this type of information. But even here, questions are legitimate.
How does this version fit with what is reported at the beginning of this article, namely Conte allegedly instructing the entire team on what to do to reach the draw? One day (February 29) Conte gives precise instructions, another day (July 10) Larrondo, lost and confused, asks Carobbio for details? And – of all people – why ask Carobbio? Wouldn’t it have been better to ask Conte directly in this case? It was Conte himself, after all, who reassured them and instructed them in the first place, right? Why act almost behind the coach’s back, by asking a teammate?
As you see, certainties are something I have in very short supply. But what should distinguish a cheap journalist from a real one should just be the curiosity to understand and ask legitimate (I think) and sound questions, and the will to go over the verdict and analyzing it, section by section, statement by statement.
Stop now – we are almost at the end – and ask yourself: why can’t we find all of this (traceable from the first to the last word) in newspapers? Perhaps, beyond all, this is the most important question of all. For all the others questions I asked, we will see in the second part of the article, what answers Palazzi and the Disciplinary Commission were able to give. And, I promise, the choice to consider yourself more or less satisfied about what is conjectured (and sentenced) is something I shall leave to you.
Originally published on August 14, 2012
As promised, here is the second part concerning the reconstruction given by the federal prosecutors and later, by the Disciplinary Committee, which in fact fully embraces the prosecution’s stances. What follows below in blue has been written by my friend GABRIELE CAPASSO of Calcioblog.it, to whom I extend my compliments. With the promise that, for heaven’s sake, he will not talk about Carobbio’s wife.
★ ★ ★
The 10-month ban inflicted to Antonio Conte rests on the reliability Palazzi credits Filippo Carobbio with. The relationship between the Federal Prosecutor and “Pippo” (as Palazzi likes to call him), already highlighted by Antonio Corsa in the analysis of the “pentito’s” statements about the Novara-Siena match over the last few months, is very strange. In the assessment of the evidential findings contained in the referrals, Palazzi argues that the statements made by Gervasoni and Carobbio are “unambiguous and insurmountable.” Where is such congruity?
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “I take note of the statements made by Gervasoni, but these do not correspond to the truth.”
It is impressive that, according to the official documents, Palazzi considers the statements of Carobbio to be “self-accusing, rather than an attempt to drag accomplices in”. What is Carobbio accusing himself of in relation to Novara-Siena? In reality, as we demonstrated, of nothing. Despite having been released from prison on bail thanks to his collaboration with the Prosecution of Cremona, the match in question is part of Carobbio’s spontaneous statements to the FIGC Prosecutor’s Office made at a later date (29/02/2012), so much so that the Prosecutors of Cremona needed to hear him again in April concerning the same subject.
Carobbio – unlike Gervasoni – denies that the game was fixed in order to gamble on the score. Instead, he labels the match as emblematic of the unsportsmanlike attitude of two teams which, at the end of the season (or at least when they’ve achieved or partially achieved their season goals), reach a pre-match agreement based on preferring to have “two wounded rather than one dead”, to quote Gigi Buffon.
How is it possible to assess as plausible the reconstruction of a pentito who hides first from the Prosecutor of Cremona, and then from Palazzi himself, the fact of having had telephone contacts (proved by the investigation of the Prosecutor of Cremona) with Ilievski, an exponent of the “criminal organization” of the so-called “Gypsies” (“Zingari”)? Carobbio, according to the prosecutors, talks to Ilievski using the number issued to Mawgoud Adbel and he does so before Novara-Siena in order to “plan in parallel the criminal deal with the Slavo-Singaporean group”.
As a matter of fact, the statements of Carobbio about Conte are “self-accusing” only to the extent that would configure a failure to report a crime, but they hide an overall intense activity to fix, in order to place “safe” bets (e.g. the ‘over’) on the final score of a match, a final score different from that for which Antonio Conte is being dragged in (i.e. a draw). Gervasoni mentions an ‘over’, and according to the prosecutors of Cremona this is the actual goal of the gambling organization, not obtaining the draw.
Carobbio, even according to Palazzi who writes it loud and clear in the accusations, is guilty of sporting fraud in relation to Novara-Siena, but is punished with only a 4-month ban in addition to the 20 previously sentenced (these having also been heavily reduced as a thank you for cooperating). Carobbio gets a charge reduction – a fraud becomes a simple “failure to report” it – with a discount from the point of view of the sentence to be served.
When for the first time he tells (Palazzi) about this match (August 29, 2012), he had not said anything yet to the Prosecutors of Cremona in relation to it. Only during the questioning held on April 17, 2012 – in front of the Prosecutors – he “confesses” he was aware of the agreement for the draw. At the same venue, he, who according to Palazzi provides “unambiguous and insurmountable” statements”, also says:
Carobbio, 17/04/2012: “It is especially not true that I informed the Gypsies that I had been told of an agreement regarding an “over”. Gegic and Ilievski show up, I think, the night before the game.”
Who knows, maybe it was Mawgoud Adbel who informed them?
Palazzi, donning the inquisitor cap rather than that of an investigator, seems to have the sole interest to make inconsistencies consistent by labelling them as “insurmountable”. In the evaluation of the evidence, but also in the way he runs the examinations, he completely ignores the differing reconstructions provided by Gervasoni and Carobbio on the arranged result (is it a draw or an ‘over’?).
One in particular, on 26/03/2012 with Daniele Ficagna, is used to confirm the credibility of Carobbio. Ficagna makes no reference to the alleged strained relationship between the pentito and his coach and therefore, for this reason, it is inferred that Carobbio himself did not have any grudge against Conte for not granting permission to attend the delivery of his baby in September 2010.
Why does Palazzi not ask Ficagna what Conte said in the famous technical meeting? Why is Ficagna reliable when he provides an element considered essential to back up the lack of hatred of Carobbio towards his coach, but not when he could exonerate Conte in relation to the content of his talk during the technical meeting?
Still with respect to the technical meeting, Palazzi uses chopped scraps of declarations out of context to strengthen his case. He writes: “Larrondo argues that the coach would not have made any reference to the position in the ranking, while Sestu remembers that the coach mentioned this since, although hoping for a win, even a draw ‘in that game would have been for us a positive result’: Conte, however, has ruled out ever having told the players that the draw would have been a good result.”
Actually Sestu completes the concept by stating, as seen in the previous article:
Sestu, 13/07/2012: “In my opinion, the speech was unambiguous and I categorically rule out that Conte may have made reference to an agreement between the two teams for a draw.”
The observation that the “draw in that game would have been for us a positive result” belongs to the same person who denies “categorically” that Conte had talked about an agreement between the two teams.
The detail whether he mentioned or not the “position in the table” is clearly insignificant. The fact that Larrondo, as opposed to Sestu, does not remember that it was mentioned does not add or take anything away, but for Palazzi it doesn’t work that way.
All this without even mentioning the inexplicable decision to surgically strike the whole of Conte’s technical staff (big excerpts of the hearings are dedicated to “reveal” who the attendees of the technical reunion were) ignoring the fact that, if things really went as Carobbio says they did, all Siena players should have had charges brought up against them for failing to report a crime (sidenote: Angelo Alessio, assistant coach of Antonio Conte, has never been heard by federal prosecutors). The intent of Palazzi seems punitive against Conte and those around him, while his investigative work (establishing the dynamics of the possible crimes and finding the culprits) is seriously deficient.
In the absence of any evidence in relation to Carobbio’s statements, the prosecutor ignores the pentito’s lies, his omissions, the inconsistency with the reconstruction offered by Gervasoni, and his interest in involving other parties.
The question, to which everyone can give the answer he likes, but nobody with a minimum of intellectual honesty can ignore, is only one: why?
★ ★ ★
I jump in to complement the excellent remarks made by Capasso with some data and a few more general considerations.
It has been said that the draw between the two teams was taken for granted and that would suit both. It may seem paradoxical but this is the only evidence in support that the game was fixed, along with the statement of another pentito – Erodiani – who declares, with no evidence and without even remembering who was involved, that such match was “arranged” for a draw. For Carobbio the draw was so obvious that Siena players were not even surprised by Conte’s speech during the technical meeting. Well, Novara, as a consequence of that draw at home, lost their third place much to the advantage of Varese, who was ahead on the head-to-head record. Therefore they took the risk to gamble away the promotion to Serie A with only four matches left to play. Siena, on the other side, would have been directly promoted with a victory, precisely at the expense of Varese and Novara. In short: that draw was good but not necessarily great. For both. Except for Varese.
Moving on. This is what the Disciplinary Commission says: “Specifically, with reference to the involvement in the agreement reached between the two teams, the evidence of the participation in crime is given by the fact that Bertani did not just assure Carobbio, when the two teams entered the pitch, of the existence of the agreement, but he also played, contributing so that the agreed-upon result (the draw) was effectively achieved.”
So the evidence of the crime is the fact that he played. A draw, pay attention. Question: Drascek did not play that game, being on the stands. What is the evidence of the crime of the meeting occurred with Vitiello? The mere fact that he said hello to a former teammate? This would be the most important moment of all, what actually certifies that the agreement occurred between the teams.
Anyway, continuing to read, we find out that: “Regarding, conversely, the ‘parallel’ deal with the group of the ‘Gypsies’, this is amply demonstrated by the aforementioned findings. In this regard, the alleged contradictions between the statements of Carobbio and Gervasoni do not matter, as there is no contradiction between them concerning the role Bertani had in the agreement with the group of the ‘Gypsies’”.
Let us pause for a second. The mentioned “findings” would be the “multiple phone calls recorded, since 29.4.2011, between the group of the ‘Gypsies’ and, among others, Carobbio, Bertani and Gervasoni” (as by the 22/05/2012 order of Cremona’s investigating prosecutor). Beside the fact that, as noted by Criscitiello, there is some doubt concerning those findings as well and, beside the fact that those same contacts were initially hidden by Carobbio (actually, he expressly denied them) and then, once dragged in by Gervasoni, “downgraded” to mere informational and even unnecessary phone calls (as, according to his statements, he was not aware of any fraud), it is argued that Bertani took part in the match thus helping to reach the draw.
And what about the ‘over’? Who would have helped to achieve that? Still Bertani for Novara, and Carobbio who had come on in the 72nd minute for Siena? Only TWO players?
Moreover: it isn’t at all true there is consistency between Gervasoni and Carobbio’s statements concerning the role of Bertani. The first argues that an ‘over’ was fixed between the two, so as to let the ‘Gypsies’ bet. The latter denies any match-fixing activity with the gypsies, and simply argues that before the game he only asked Bertani for confirmation about the draw arranged by the two teams, a draw that he, having no role in it, had heard only from Conte. I don’t see much consistency here…
In short: several things do not add up, but most of all, it does not quite fit why so many other people have not even gone to trial (or have been acquitted, like Bonucci and Pepe just to name two example) since they had not been investigated by penal prosecutors. Here instead, the version of a person who was caught red-handed, arrested, confessed, a multiple match-fixer and money casher is preferred over that of a person (Conte) who, for the prosecution of Cremona, is not even under investigation.
And the reason, believe it or not, is summarized in this concept expressed by the Disciplinary Commission: “If there were grievances of Carobbio against Conte and, therefore, an attempt to slander, Carobbio could have dragged his coach in also with reference to other matches he himself reported to the investigators (e.g. Siena-Torino), which he did not. It follows that Conte is responsible of the allegation claimed”.
I pass the word to you.
Follow ANTONIO CORSA on Twitter @antoniocorsa or his two websites: uccellinodidelpiero.com and antoniocorsa.com.
Gabriele Capasso is the author of Calcioblog.it.
For further reading on the CALCIOSCOMMESSE scandal:
• Conte, Pepe, Bonucci & CALCIOSCOMMESSE: Just WHAT Is Going On? by Aaron Giambattista• CALCIOSCOMMESSE: A Lawyer’s Musings on a Tribunal Fit to be Flawed by John Cascarano