Just
days after Italy, the three time world champions, booked their spot in the
quarter finals of this year’s World Cup, Italian domestic football is facing
one of the darkest periods in its history with news that a respected former
player and Juventus official has attempted suicide.

A
little over a month ago, allegations of match-fixing surfaced,
implicating some of the most influential people in the competition. Chief among
them were Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi and
Davide Lippi, the son of the current national team coach Marcello Lippi.
They are not alone, with 26 officials, including referees,
facing corruption allegations.

The
story took an unexpected twist yesterday with news that Juventus
team manager Gianluca Pessotto had
fallen from a building at the club’s headquarters with rosary beads in his
hands. He landed on a car and survived the fall before being rushed to
hospital for emergency surgery. Today his condition is described as “very, very
serious
”.

Pessotto
is not thought to be involved in the corruption scandal facing Juventus, but
with the match-fixing inquiry due to kick off today (Italian time), his suicide
attempt couldn’t have come at a more sensitive time.

After
finishing his playing career only last year, Pessotto was installed as Juventus
team manager in May this year after the club’s entire board resigned in
response to the match-fixing controversy. His wife has told reporters he was
suffering depression and did not feel capable of being the team manager.

Questions
are now being asked about how this and the beginning of the corruption inquiry
will affect the Italian team
for the remainder of the World Cup.

Peter Fray

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