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Sports Watch

Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

Controversy is a big word. A scary word if you come right down to it. And the real chilling part is that its' very much in vogue these days. Of course my RS colleagues accusing me of being it, controversial I mean, (thankfully) plays little or no part in what is to follow. What I do want to remind you of is that age old adage of “Crime doesn't pay.” Remember that? Yes, that one. Now strike it off your list. Because crime does pay. But only if you are Silvio Berlusconi. Oh and also thanks for all those mails (more of that later).

Yes, this is where the controversy bit comes in. Italian football has been neck deep in it for the last five months, with Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi aka Lucky Luciano in the thick of things. Clubs to be implicated included Juventus themselves, Fiorentina, Lazio and AC Milan. I don't need to repeat the dreary details of that controversy as what happened is widely known and much column inches have been spared to it.

In what was hailed as one of the best moves from modern Italy, the penalties bought down were harsh and from a neutral standpoint, perfectly justifiable. Juve to Serie B with a 30 point deduction, Fiorentina and Lazio sinking alongside them. And what of AC Milan? Oh Serie A ofcourse, with but a 15 point deficit. Inter finally got the crown that had proved so elusive even though Pavel Nedved spoilt that party with a particularly harsh statement. Said the just retired Czech star: To win the Scudetto (Italian championship) you have to finish top of the table at the end of the season. I don't remember Inter doing that. (I liked that so much I had it as my MSN PM for a while!)
So that's that? Case closed, zip up your fly?
You wish.
There is always the appeal.
And there is always the crookedness.
You know what I believe. I think Silvio Berlusconi sat down and wrote the verdicts himself. No don't laugh. Its absolutely plausible. Or else how do you explain the post appeal sentences. Milan into Europe with a -8 starting point next season. Fiorentina and Lazio back Into the mix and Juventus, poor Old Lady still languishing in the bottom echelons of Serie B. -17 points at last count. Best of luck to Didier Deschamps.

Anyhow, enough of the depressing stuff. The one beneficial point of this tragedy, if you please, was the fact that it triggered a huge transfer market rush in which many players changed hands. Madrid couped Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson along with Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Barca roped in Zambrotta and Thuram. Chelsea look strong and so do Milan. I am pretty sure we are looking forward to a great year. I can't wait for the action to begin.

On another note, as I started out saying. Thanks for all those mails. I hadn't written this column in a while and with its absence throughout the World Cup month and its subsequent reappearance in the center page as opposed to the back where it truly belongs had left me pretty circumspect. But the volume of response has left me feeling slightly surprised and immensely proud. I will keep the views running and close it next week. The best three responses get on next weeks SportsWatch so if you want to write in be sure it reaches me two days from now.

If you need reminding, I asked, what for you was the defining moment of this year's World Cup?

Hoping for more replies.
As usual I am available at zulquarnain.islam@gmail.com


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