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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Old Lady takes a tumble
By Dan Warren

Juventus logo
Juventus, one of the world's most famous football teams, is suffering.

The venerable club, popularly known as La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) of Italian football celebrates its 109th birthday this year.

But there will not be much of a party as it does so outside of Serie A for the first time in its illustrious history following its demotion - upheld on appeal - to the second division for its part in Italy's match-fixing scandal.

Since forming on 1 November 1897, Juventus have known little other than success.

They have scooped the small matter of 29 Italian league titles, nine Italian Cups, four Italian Supercups, three Uefa Cups, two European Cups, two European Super Cups and one Cup Winners' Cup.

But controversy is also something with which the bianconeri are familiar.

And not all Italian fans will be mourning their demise as a top-league force in football.

JUVENTUS' MANY TROPHIES
Formed:
1897
First league title:
1905 (29 in total)
First Italian Cup:
1938 (nine in total)
Cup Winners' Cup wins:
1984
Uefa Cup wins:
1977, 1990, 1993
European Cup wins:
1985, 1996
Like many big and successful football teams, Juventus are adored by their fans but loathed by their detractors.

They have huge rivalries with many other big Italian clubs such as Fiorentina, AC Milan, Roma and city rivals Torino.

Inter Milan are another huge rival, and matches between Juve and Inter are known as the Derby d'Italia (Derby of Italy) because of the huge fanbase for each club.

Ironically, in the light of the allegations which led to their downfall, their enemies have often complained that Juve too often get the benefit of the doubt from referees.

Often such allegations stem from jealousy. But it seems that at least on some occasions, the allegations were justified.

Animosity has been evident from long before the current allegations, probably stemming from envy at the strong backing the club has always enjoyed.

The Agnelli family, owners of the Fiat company, have been in control of Juventus since 1923.

Gianni Agnelli, who died in 2003 after an involvement with Juventus which lasted half a century, was among the most influential Italian business leaders of the 20th century.

606 VIEW
NDS

In more recent times, the club had Luciano Moggi as their general manager for the past 12 years, until his recent resignation when the current scandal broke.

London-based journalist Giancarlo Galavotti told BBC Sport that Moggi's power was "already legendary" even when he joined the club.

Moggi is extremely well-connected. That is not a problem in itself, but it was his conversations with people in high places which brought about the current problems.

The transcript of a conversation with Pierluiggi Pairetto, the vice-chairman of Uefa's referees' commission, in which Moggi put pressure on him to appoint a referee who would be favourable to Juve in a European tie, was damning.

Opponents of Juve will list many occasions on which decisions have gone in their favour, for example the non-awarding of a penalty after a foul on Ronaldo - then playing for Inter - in a key match in the title run-in in 1998.

But such complaints are not limited to domestic competition, nor to recent years.

Brian Clough, then manager of Derby, saw his side beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Juve in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1973. Clough was fuming and hurled insults at the Italians for cheating.

Whatever allegations were thrown their way in the past, Juve always managed to shrug them off and continue to enjoy enormous success.

But 2006 has been the year in which the Old Lady's health has taken a distinct turn for the worse.



SEE ALSO
The worst scandal of them all
14 Jul 06 |  Europe
Serie A sale
14 Jul 06 |  Europe
Italian football's tangled web
14 Jul 06 |  Europe
Capello quits troubled Juventus
04 Jul 06 |  Europe
Triumph from despair
09 Jul 06 |  Italy
Italian football in crisis
01 Jun 06 |  Europe


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