x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Triumphant Juventus coach Conte not seeing stars, just numbers

New Serie A champions' threat to embroider a third star above the club crest would be an incendiary act.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte, right, celebrates at the end of an Italian Serie A football match against Cagliari at the Nereo Rocco stadium in Trieste. Alberto Pizzoli / AFP
Juventus coach Antonio Conte, right, celebrates at the end of an Italian Serie A football match against Cagliari at the Nereo Rocco stadium in Trieste. Alberto Pizzoli / AFP

The row over what to call the latest Serie A title won by Juventus has been rumbling for weeks. Now it has entered new hostility.

According to Juve, the scudetto achieved on Sunday is the 30th in the club's history. According to everybody else, especially Inter Milan fans, and importantly the Italian league itself, it was the 28th. Why the discrepancy? Because the 2005 and 2006 titles were officially stripped from Juventus because of the calciopoli scandal. The 2005 championship was not-reassigned, but the 2006 one was: to Inter.

Juventus have always disputed the legitimacy of taking away those titles, though they acknowledged some of their employees had sought to influence referees in the period concerned. Now, within the club, there is a threat to embroider on to the team jersey a third gold star.

It would be an incendiary act. Traditionally a club wears a star above the club crest for every 10 league titles won. Juve know that claiming 30 titles - not 28 - would infuriate Inter. Can they? The league say they cannot rule over small matters as jersey design.

For the sake of their own dignity, Juve should let it go and aim to get their seamstresses working on the third star for 2014, not before.

They should take an example from their triumphant head coach, Antonio Conte, who, on being asked, immediately after having guided Juve to the championship, what number title he thought this latest one was, cleverly replied: "The first, my first."

Well put.