What Was Calciopoli?

Calciopoli was a match-fixing scandal, uncovered between important Italian teams and a group of referees. Read on to find out more!
What Was Calciopoli?

Last update: 02 June, 2020

In 2004, everyone was talking about the Italian Serie A, although not because of any spectacular sporting achievements. Italy’s top soccer league became embroiled in a scandal called Calciopoli. In this article, we’ll tell you all about the teams involved.

How Calciopoli began

To talk about this scandal, we have to travel back in time to the 2004-2005 season in the Italian Serie A. During this season, intercepted telephone calls revealed that some ‘big’ teams had conspired to gain advantages in matches.

The evidence suggested that they’d appointed referees who favored them in key league matches and, therefore, directly influenced the results.

Prosecutors from the Italian soccer agency GEA World investigated and decoded the conversations. They later published them in Italian newspapers, not just the sports magazines, and gave them the name “Calciopoli” (which loosely translates as “Footballgate”).

It turned out that Juventus CEOs Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo had personally spoken with soccer officials to influence the appointment of referees. After a complaint to the Turin criminal court (the city where Juventus plays), investigators started recording all of Moggi and Giraudo’s phone calls.

In one of these communications, the head referee of the Italian Football Federation, Pierluigi Pairetto, was asked to appoint referees who “were favorable” to Juventus. There were even some suggested names of referees who could discreetly support the team by changing the course of the matches that had a direct impact on Juventus’ fortunes.

However, investigators soon discovered that Pairetto was in contact with other teams for the same reason. There were some big names in the picture, including world-famous teams, such as AC Milan, Fiorentina, and Lazio.

A referee reaching for a red card.

Calciopoli: sanctions against the teams involved

At first, the investigation had stayed within the confines of the sporting world. However, once the story reached the newspapers, including the prestigious Corriere della Sera, judges reopened the case. They gave the Italian Football Federation the authority to determine guilt.

On July 4, 2006, the following teams received their punishment:


The team was stripped of its last two scudettos from 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. They then received a 30-point deduction, leading to their relegation to Serie B. They also had to pay a fine of €120,000 ($130,000).

AC Milan

AC Milan wasn’t allowed to enter the Champions League at the group stage. Instead, they had to play in the preliminary qualifying rounds. The incredible thing is that, despite this, they went on to win the competition. They received a deduction of 15 points in Serie A and had to pay a fine of €100,000 ($110,000).


With 12 points deducted, Fiorentina went down to Serie B. They also had to pay a fine of €100,000.


The team from Rome received a 30-point deduction and a fine of €100,000.

As a result of the Calciopoli scandal, there were also individual sanctions against key figures at the club. These included the Lazio club president and the Juventus managing director, who received suspensions of four months and five years respectively.

The referee Massimo De Santis was banned from officiating for four years. The president of the Italian Football Federation received a fine of €80,000 ($87,000)

Two teams which were involved in calciopoli.
Image: la10.rpp.pe

Repercussions of Calciopoli in Italian soccer

Aside from the relegation of teams to Serie B, one of the consequences of the scandal was that teams had their championship titles removed. The 2004-2005 title, originally won by Juventus, has since remained unallocated.

However, the 2005-2006 title was awarded to Inter Milan, with second place going to Roma. Palermo and Chievo Verona received places for the qualifying round of the 2006-2007 Champions League.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the devastating effect on the Juventus team. As a result of their relegation, club revenues dropped significantly. Also, key stars such as Ibrahimovic, Cannavaro, and Zambrotta left Italy, and players such as Buffón, Trezeguet, Del Piero, Camoranesi, and Nedved moved to other Serie A clubs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.