The Delusion of Inter's Campaign for a Second Star

Inter and Milan are in a race to see who can earn their second star first. Whichever team reaches twenty Scudetti first can wear a second star above their crest on their shirts. On paper, both teams have 19 league titles, but it is very important to note that it is only on paper that this is true. The Scudetto that Inter claim as their 14th was actually assigned them by the courts – their own courts – as a result of the shambolic Calciopoli investigation, and is thus widely referred to as the "paper Scudetto." Juventus actually won the league that season on the pitch, with Milan coming in second, and Inter only placed third, despite having actually interfered most with the referees. Inter simply hid all of the evidence of their involvement and then orchestrated the investigation to their benefit. In fact, their subsequent four titles were also won because of the advantages gained by this horrific manipulation of justice. So, even if Inter were to win the Scudetto this season, the delusion of them having 20 titles negates them having a legitimate second star.

What many consider an "even" battle for the 2nd star, but is it honest?

This calendar year has been a very difficult year for Milan fans when it comes to this city rivalry, having lost a record four times to Inter between the Supercoppa, league, and Champions League matches. Inter have continued their long history of taking advantage of the system by winning their 19th Scudetto two years ago during a season when they not only crashed out of Champions League in the Group Stage, but could not even pay their players and Suning actually shut down their Chinese team overnight without any warning because of lack of funding. Their financial instability cost us yet another setback in Milan's joint efforts for a stadium project, too. Not only were Suning not given any consequences for either of their shocking financial club improprieties, Serie A awarded them with the league title that season, as well as a plethora of other awards.

Dedicate the Scudetto to yourself, take the €12m and run... another brilliant Inter choice.

Additionally, the club is carrying a staggering almost one billion euros in debts. Billion. While Milan has worked tirelessly the past five years to become fiscally responsible and actually turned a small profit this past season, still remaining remarkably competitive and having won the Scudetto the year after Inter with a team with approximately half the annual wages, Inter have continued to operate in the red. Not just operate in the red, Stephen Zhang, Inter's chairman, is being sued in three different countries for €300 million in personal debts as well. 

The club's financing through Oaktree is due at the end of this year, a whopping €300 million of their massive debt load that the club has no way of paying back. Rumors of investors, a sale of the club, and more have swirled for a couple of years now, with this deadline looming. Just this week, another investor expressed interest in buying the debt-laden club. Despite Inter's debt being labeled as junk bonds because of their excessive debts and high likelihood of failure to repay them, they are reportedly in talks with yet another refinancing of this debt. How, I do not understand. Maybe it is because Serie A keeps allowing them to compete despite such egregious financial balance sheets. Or that UEFA allowed them to play a Champions League final despite not remotely adhering to their financial responsibility rules. Not that this is new for us, UEFA have treated our two clubs very differently in terms of FFP rules for years. 

In massive debt, both the club and personally, but without consequences... why?

But this continued lack of accountability while being allowed to compete at the highest level, while certainly not unique in Serie A, has never caught up with Inter. The team that ensured Juventus was relegated in 2006 and still claims their title, projecting their own crimes on that team, then directly taking advantage of them by taking Ibrahimović and Vieira from Juve at discounted rates, did not merely start their cycle of defrauding Serie A in 2006. No, that started years before with a narrative of conditioning the media and public about the referees that still exists today.

When talking to Inter fans that have actually supported the club before their plastic "treble" of 2010, they will always talk about a single referee call in a single match 25 years ago. It was a Derby D'Italia match, Juventus vs. Inter in April of 1998, and both teams were competing for the title that season. However, Inter had been complaining about the referees all season long, and when that match happened, their players and staff literally lost their minds at every single refereeing decision, most of which were actually correct. Even if you agree with them that the one specific call was wrong, it does not justify anything else that happened before, during, or since that match.

One call 25 years ago, an entire culture of lies and a massive scandal, but only one club unpunished...

How do I know this? After years of listening to this Inter myth, I went back and watched that match as well as some of the other highlights from matches they felt had contentious calls that season. What I found was absolutely shocking. Not only did Inter fairly lose four matches in a row that season to lose their chance at the title, they lost that match fairly as well. Their losses had nothing to do with referees. The Ronaldo could  not score to save his life, and a penalty awarded to Juventus that Inter found contentious was actually saved by their goalkeeper. What of the disputed call? It was a penalty that was not awarded them, and was also not even a guaranteed goal. The match ended Juve 1, Inter 0, which was a reasonable scoreline, even if I would have awarded all three points to the referee team and the police that had to deal with Inter's shameful players and staff. (If you have the time, go back and watch this match, their behavior is actually horrifying.)

One of these men was more guilty in Calciopoli, the other more punished.

However, the next day, in the paper literally owned by Inter's vice president at the time, the conspiracy that they created was blown completely out of proportion, calling it "the great robbery" ("la grande ruberia.") That match is now known as the "mother match of Calciopoli" ("la partita madre di Calciopoli,") because Inter's conspiracies only spread like an epidemic from there. And Inter continued to use their friends in high places to push their whining, crying narrative about referee injustices. For years. Moratti, who is well-known for wiretapping even his own players (because he was sued for it and lost,) also clearly had a hand in creating the ultimate gaslighting conspiracy that took down all of Serie A in 2006.

Moratti and Facchetti, masterminds of Serie A's greatest con job, still without any accountability.

If you do a quick search on Calciopoli, you will probably read that Juventus was relegated and had two titles stripped, with other teams receiving points deductions for a scandal in which teams were found to have "conditioned" the referees by talking to them ahead of matches in an attempt to gain favorable referee calls. That is what was reported after the original trial that was rushed because of UEFA wanting answers about teams participating in their competitions the following season. An investigation and trial that shamed a nation that was simultaneously winning their fourth World Cup, so that nation wanted to shove this scandal under the carpet as quickly as possible.

Italy's true justice system, owned by Inter's vice president at the time of Calciopoli.

All of those things worked out even more favorably for Inter, who had very carefully worked to put all of their friends in all of the right places for this scandal when it broke. There is a reason that Inter were the only big club who were never implicated in the original trial. The wiretaps for the trial were all provided by Telecom Italia (TIM), which was owned by a member of Inter's Board of Directors, who also later became president of Inter's primary sponsor, Pirelli. 

He conveniently failed to produce the wiretaps of Inter's directors' conversations with referees until the statute of limitations ran out. Once they came out, they demonstrated that Inter were the most guilty of attempting to condition the referees, but they were never punished because of the statute of limitations. There are records of these wiretaps and testimonies of referees and others in subsequent official court proceedings from 2010 on, but Inter were unable to be charged or punished because of the legal system in Italy. Oh, and yes, TIM is that TIM that sponsors Serie A. Since 2006.

The impartial commissioner appointed to preside over Calciopoli, Guido Rossi.

The prosecutor assigned to the Calciopoli case was Guido Rossi, another longtime Inter board member. Apparently, impartiality is not a part of the Italian judicial system. I already mentioned that Inter's vice president at the time owned La Gazzetta dello Sport, so crucial prosecution evidence was leaked through that newspaper during the trial. (There is actually a very incestuous relationship before, during, and after Calciopoli between Inter, TIM, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Rossi, Moratti, and others in this Inter web of lies.) 

Inter's team manager at the time also owned il Corriere dello Sport, another major Italian sports newspaper which leaked information about the trial. These were a few of the more blatantly obvious people and institutions involved in the outcome of the Calciopli trial who had direct ties to Inter. In fact, new evidence that came to light just this year suggests that Inter actually signed a secret agreement to actually compensate those involved in illegal wiretaps and investigations. 

The 2006 Scudetto, won by Juventus, claimed by Inter.

The bottom line is this: Inter actually should have been relegated in 2006 (as should Milan have been, actually, but at least we did accept a points deduction for our part in the scandal.) However, instead, they claim their 14th Scudetto, which they never even came close to winning, and were only awarded on paper. Awarded them by their own judge in a corrupt trial that was rushed and manipulated by their own people in the media and telecommunications industries. 

The scandal that took down an entire league, then Inter benefitted from their efforts for years by weakened rivals who suffered from relegation, points deductions, and having to sell their players directly to Inter for cheap or otherwise lose them because of their punishments. They "won" four subsequent league titles, a Coppa Italia title, and a Champions League title, all while their rivals were penalized and/or were trying to rebuild after the scandal. Seems legit.

Inter's 14th Scudetto is as legitimate as this piece of paper.
(And their next four titles are questionable, too)

I do not even know of a less accountable or more corrupt organization in football, which, considering clubs like Juventus, is saying something. At least Juventus' corruption was to maintain a winning standard established on the pitch. Inter had to take down a whole league to win anything at all. That they have the audacity to brag about not cheating or having never been relegated is sickening enough. That legacy of corruption did not end when Moratti sold the club, either, it is their modus operandi. But now that they might lay claim to a false second star with their paper Scudetto that was not only earned illicitly, but at the expense of an entire league, makes my blood boil beyond all reason. 

When they as a club (not just their pathetic fans) whine and cry and claim to be victims of referee calls, it is nothing new, that is their club culture established over 25 years ago. But the cheating, taking advantage of everyone else, while claiming to be champions is absolutely disgusting beyond all reason. That UEFA and Serie A even allow them to compete given their exploitation of the financial system is just a continuation of their corrupt, scheming boardroom ways. 

Milan coreo: "Eighteen championships without wiretaps" (from 2011)

Inter gaslighting coreo: "I don't steal the championsthip and I've never been in Serie B"

Seeing the players they field as a result of this continued thievery, while Milan have actually had to sacrifice to rebuild within the parameters UEFA have set is also enough to make even a neutral fan see red. Not even Cardinale & Furlani's manic overhaul of our squad this year, with their €125 million imbalanced summer spend, can put a dent in the disparity. Inter's wage bill (and thus overall quality of their squad) is still higher.

Losing to Inter this year on the pitch was hard enough. Even more difficult knowing the financial disparities of the wage bills between the two clubs. But it was very, very bitter knowing the disgusting financial mismanagement and lack of accountability that exists at the helm of our ugly cousins' farcical organization. That mismanagement directly impacts the sporting results, without a doubt creating an unfair advantage for those slithering snakes. 

Which team will get their 2nd star first? Delusionally or otherwise?

Yet Inter still complain about every single call. Even when they did not receive a single red card during our Scudetto winning year, but they still lost to us. Milan have always held our heads high and accepted the consequences of our actions. But nothing will compare to the pain of having to look at a second star on their kits when they not only did not earn their 14th Scudetto, they harmed all of Serie A on their way to claiming more league and other titles after Calciopoli. Their delusion is injustice. And even if we take the high road, that injustice is our pain.

This post inspired by the music of Muse's "City of Delusion"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 4
il Derby della Madonnina
Inter vs. Milan
Saturday, September 16, 2023 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)

The Delusion of Inter's Campaign for a Second Star The Delusion of Inter's Campaign for a Second Star Reviewed by Elaine on 11:55 PM Rating: 5
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