x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Low blows in the bid for moral high ground

This tit for tat between Inter and Juve has become almost a weekly event, and has become a tedious and increasingly puerile playground spat.

From left, Juventus' Andrea Pirlo, Simone Pepe, Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vucinic warm up ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match with Chelsea.
From left, Juventus' Andrea Pirlo, Simone Pepe, Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vucinic warm up ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match with Chelsea.

Three weeks ago, just after Inter Milan had ended Juventus' unbeaten record in Serie A, their coach Andrea Stramaccioni declined to comment on the refereeing of the contest - Juve had probably benefited from a couple of errors - and added that it was his intention not to talk about match officials.

That undertaking looks very unlikely to last. Stramaccioni may not have castigated the referee Piero Giacomelli publicly after Sunday's 2-2 home draw to Cagliari, but he said something offensive enough to Giacomelli's touchline colleague to receive a red card and a subsequent two-match ban.

True to form, Inter's president Massimo Moratti did moan about the refereeing, claiming that, for the third match in succession, Inter had been on the end of poor decisions, and, not for the first time, referred to a recent past - the 2006 calciopoli scandal, for which Juventus were relegated for manipulating officials - where Juve tended to benefit from refereeing mistakes while their rivals suffered.

Asked if he was suggesting a conspiracy, Moratti said he was not.

But, by then, Juventus had been riled. The Turin club promptly posted on their website a copy of last year's Italian Federation ruling that Inter had not been without guilt in the calciopoli affair.

This sort of tit for tat between Inter and Juve has become almost a weekly event. Both clubs may think they claim a moral high ground with each snide swipe, but to outsiders, both clubs merely allow dignity to slide.

It is a tedious and increasingly puerile playground spat.

sports@thenational.ae

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