Re: "Pride before the Fall" *LINK*
Posted By: karibkween In Response To: "Pride before the Fall" *LINK* (karibkween)
Date: Wednesday, 22 June 2011, at 2:03 p.m.
In Response To: "Pride before the Fall" *LINK* (karibkween)
A Qaddafi Son, Italian Soccer and the Power of Money
By JOHN FOOT
Over the years, one of the charges against the murderous regime of Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi was that state funds were being used to further the footballing career of his third-oldest son, Al Saadi. He was once thought to run the Libyan Football Federation. It is hard to know if Libyan football will survive revolution and civil war, but it is worth telling the story, again, of Saadi’s surreal, so-called career in Italian football.
Of course, links between Libya and Italy go back a long way. Libya was an Italian colony between 1911 and 1947 and Italy’s economic interests there have remained strong since. In particular, Fiat, Italy’s biggest company, has always been interested in Libyan oil, and did a lot of business with Qaddafi. Fiat is the owner of Italy’s oldest and most successful team, and the team with the most fans — Juventus. The Qaddafi family built up considerable holdings in Juventus, obtaining, according to some reports as much as seven percent of shares in the clubs in recent years. In 2002, the Italian Supercup final was played in Tripoli, the currently embattled Libyan capital, thanks to these links.
It is perhaps for this reason that Saadi Qaddafi thought that he might be able to play in Serie A, despite not being good enough. The strategy was simple — pay teams to have him in their squad, and train with the first team. He might even get a few minutes on the field, on rare occasions.
Saadi was “signed” by Luciano Gaucci, the volcanic owner of Perugia, in the 2003 off-season. Qaddafi had been hanging around Italian soccer for years. He even trained with Paul Gascoigne at Lazio in the 1990s. Although he had trained with Juve, nobody had ever imagined that the dictator’s son was anywhere near good enough to actually turn out in Serie A, except Gaucci.
Despite Gaucci’s best efforts, Perugia Manager Serse Cosmi obstinately refused to play the 30-year-old Libyan. Gaucci issued a statement, at the time, which is interesting in retrospect: “Berlusconi called me up and encouraged me. He told me that having Qaddafi in the team is helping us build a relationship with Libya. If he plays badly, he plays badly. So be it.”
A number of excuses were invented — he was injured, it was the wrong game. Gaucci pleaded publicly with Cosmi, asking if he would play Qaddafi for just one half … even if he is not very good. Cosmi held firm. Qaddafi sat on the bench once without coming on. The case was resolved in a spectacular manner. On the Oct. 5, 2003 (after his first game as nonplaying substitute) Qaddafi’s urine sample was found to contain traces of an illegal substance — Nandrolone. He was barred for three months, without ever having played for the first team.
The Qaddafi saga was not over, however.
Having served his ban, Saadi finally saw some action, for 15 minutes, in a key relegation game against Juventus in May as Perugia won, 1-0. A week later an attack of appendicitis conveniently put him out for the rest of the season
In 2006, Saadi Qaddafi had his second 11 minutes of fame, turning out for Udinese in a dead end-of-season match against Cagliari (again the manager was Cosmi) and coming close to scoring with a “great left-foot shot from the edge of the area” His statistics for the entire season consisted of eight passes, one shot and two tackles.
Qaddafi’s final season in Italy was an inglorious one. He was on Sampdoria’s books for a whole season, but was not even allowed the regulation 10 minutes on the field. All in all it is an extraordinary story. It tells us a lot about the corruption of Italian soccer, the power of (Libyan) money and the occasionally the farcical nature of Serie A in the age of Moggi and others."
The story of Saadi Qaddafi's professional football career is also featured in Bryant Gumbel's Real Sport on HBO; the segment is actually quite funny, but its also a sobering reminder of the effects and (perceived) power of money on the minds of the weak.
Messages In This Thread
Rastafari Speaks is maintained by Administrator with RastafariSpeaks.com 5.12.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml