Trends in Organized Crime

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 176–195 | Cite as

Fair play? Not so much: Corruption in the Italian football

  • Anna Di Ronco
  • Anita Lavorgna


Not only football is one of the world's most popular sports, but it is also a multi-billion euro global business. Due to its large turnover, football may offer the stage for the commission of a wide variety of misconducts and corrupt activities. Progressively over the last decade, Italian football has severely suffered from a number of corruptive malpractices, in some cases also perpetrated with the aid of organised crime groups. A number of scandals have been put under the spotlight of public opinion, such as the ones of Calciopoli (“City of Football”) and of Calcio scommesse (“Football Bets”). In all, the search for profit seemed to have pushed the game into the background, and from the law enforcement investigations a widespread culture of illegality has emerged. Despite attracting a great deal of media attention and public demise, corrupt practices perpetrated within or through football organisations have seldom been analysed by scholars against the backdrop of relevant criminological perspectives. By drawing on documentary sources (judicial files and media news), this paper shall (1) categorise and describe different modalities and patterns of corrupt deals in the Italian football; (2) examine the findings through relevant criminological theories; and (3) identify systemic opportunities for corruption.


Corruption Organised crime Italian football Subcultures Systemic opportunities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Penal Law and CriminologyInstitute for International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP)GhentBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

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