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Football and stuff

Is a little unclear at times just which is the main religion here in Italy: Catholicism or football. Certainly it would be true to say that much more TV time is devoted to the business/sport that is football than to the state religion. It would also be true to say that power games affect both.

Now you may have heard that the football world here in the living museum is being shaken to its very core by a match fixing/betting scandal which seems to involve one of the country's biggest football businesses, namely, Juventus. If you did not know, Juventus is a team based in Turin and just happens to be part of the Fiat family empire. The scandal has even affected the value of Fiat's stock, which is a measure of just how closely related people consider football to be to another 'real' business.

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I had noticed during my time here that the results of certain football matches seemed rather predictable so it came as no great surprise to me when the lid came well and truly off this, er, can of balls. And the whole episode seems to have shaken the football world to its core. There is or rather was, an analytical football program here called 'Il processo di Biscardi', during which all recent football matches were analysed at a level of detail which would not shame those working in financial circles. Nope, I did not watch it. A) I'm not a great one for team sports and B) Football is not a sport, it's a business, pure and simple and business do not generally make great spectator sports. Anyway, the guy who ran the football program, one Aldo Biscardi decided that he no longer wanted to be involved and gave the impression of being somewhat disgusted with the goings on which have sullied the purity of the 'sport'. He should not have been so surprised; the amounts of money being 'played' with in the football world are stratospheric these days and where there is oodles of money, there are greedy people, often people who do not really need to make yet more of the stuff, but such people often sadly resort to unethical methods in their constant search for bigger bank accounts.

Yes, football is a religion, but the god to which the high priests pray is no benevolent being, but that necessary evil which rules the world nowadays – the great god in question is money. Sport and money do not good bedfellows make and I have my suspicions about other business sports such as Formula One and, one of my favourites, the 500cc motorcycling world championship. The predominance of certain manufacturers may not be down solely to technical superiority, although I, for one, hope that this is the case.

The world, meanwhile, goes hopping blindly on.

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