Calciopoli scandal explained: Why were Juventus relegated to Serie B?

Young football fans will only know Juventus as being a majorly dominant side in Italy, but there was a time not so long ago that they were playing in Serie B.

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Juventus are one of the three biggest clubs in Italy, and they are the most decorated club in Italian football, winning more Serie A titles and Coppa Italia trophies than anyone else.

Having won 36 Serie A titles, 17 clear of both AC Milan and Inter, and also amassing 14 domestic cup victories, there is no doubt who rules the Italian game. Despite their pre-eminence in Italian football, the Bianconeri have ended up in Serie B previously, spending a year in Serie B – the second tier.

This was not due to a lack of finances or a weak squad, but due to their involvement in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, which saw a plethora of clubs in Italy implicated. However, Juventus were penalised more severely than the rest, and demotion from Serie A was a part of their punishment.

Juventus’ Calciopoli punishment

Pavel Nedved playing for Juventus in Serie B. [Getty]

The Calciopoli scandal saw the club executives of Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina accused of having phone calls with refereeing organizations so they could have favourable referees officiate their respective matches. The wire tappings took place during the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons, and the scandal was uncovered in May 2006, shortly before the World Cup in Germany that Italy would go on to win.

Juventus were stripped of the 2004/05 Serie A title, which went unawarded, and the 2005/06 title, which was awarded to Inter. This is precisely why official records state that Juventus have 36 Serie A titles, while the Old Lady claim to have won 38.

Most of the clubs implicated were deducted points, but Juventus were initially penalised with relegation to Serie B and a 30-point penalty. Their penalty was then reduced to nine points while directors Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo were each banned from football for five years.

Juventus’ season in Serie B

Giorgio Chiellini playing for Juventus in Serie B. [Getty]

Despite losing stars such as Gianluca Zambrotta, Fabio Cannavaro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Lilian Thuram, Juventus still held onto other key players such as Gianluigi Buffon, Pavel Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero, and David Trezeguet to ensure that their stay in Serie B was a short one.

The Bianconeri started the 2006/07 Serie B campaign with a surprising 1-1 draw against Rimini, but it proved to be a minor slip as the Italian giants went on to dominate the division, finishing six points above Napoli at the top of the table.

Juventus easily had the most prolific attack in the division, scoring 83 goals in 42 matches, 15 more than third-place Genoa. Del Piero also ended the campaign as the leading goalscorer in the Cadetti with 20 goals. Defensively, they conceded just 30 goals and Napoli conceded just one less than them. It was also the start of Giorgio Chiellini’s illustrious career in the Bianconeri defence.

La Vecchia Signora finished a third place on their Serie A return in 2007/08, but they were 13 points behind scudetto winners Inter, and 10 behind AS Roma in second place.

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