Tom Mockridge, the former Paul Keating press secretary
now running Sky Italia for Rupert Murdoch, will be planning a new marketing
strategy as he awaits a decision on the football future of Turin
club Juventus. Backing the black and white shirted premiers as their official
“media partner” has been an important part of Sky’s strategy in its pay
television competition with the operation owned by the recently defeated Italian
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Later today Juventus is expected to be demoted from the
top division Serie A after an investigation into allegations that it arranged
for sympathetic referees be appointed to control its matches. The scandal broke
in May with the publication of intercepted telephone conversations between then
Juventus chief executive Luciano Moggi and Italian soccer officials discussing
the refereeing appointments.

Moggi’s lawyer indicated at a hearing on Friday that if
found guilty the club might agree to relegation to Italy’s second
division. Italian press reports indicate that a demotion to the third division
is the more likely penalty. This would result in the club’s star players being
traded off and sponsors like Newscorp ending their contractual arrangements.

Peter Fray

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