Now that there's less call for hiding Nazi gold and people have got wise to the concept of the anonymised bank account, Switzerland has of necessity diversified. The latest service industry is apparently providing SIM cards to enable sporting fraud. The so lovely Luciano Moggi and his vast network of contacts all called each other on supposedly "untraceable" Swiss numbers (methinks something went wrong there) and today it has emerged that Ivan Basso also had a Swiss SIM card expressly for the purpose of *his* sporting fraud too.
Ah yes. A new Italian sporting scandal? Must be Tuesday. This one is about Ivan Basso, cyclist. Unlike some members of my family, I am not a cycling buff: I know a very little about it and enjoy watching the big races, but no more than that, so I apologise for errors in my googled/newspaper gleaned write-up. Basso was World Under-23 Champion in 1998 and has since achieved 3 and 2 place finishes in the Tour de France in 2004 and 2005, won Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Lombardy and various other classics and then of the 2006 Giro d'Italia. But immediately thereafter a blood doping scandal broke, arising from an undercover investigation in Spain and Basso was forced to withdraw from the 2006 Tour. [Blood doping of this kind is where you have your red blood cells harvested and then reinjected into you just before a big race to improve the oxygen carrying capabilities of your blood, very handy in endurance sports.] Unproven allegations have rumbled on ever since, with CONI reopening his case at the end of April, until finally Basso decided yesterday to come clean. He spent 4 hours explaining what he'd done, why & where, and what he might or might not have done in the future had he not been suspended.
As the front page of the Corriere dello Sport observes, how we could have done with a similar pentito in football. The hope - both Coni's and his own - is that Basso The Reformed will now become a saintly ex-sinner type educating children and encouraging others to go to 12 step EPO Anon. Thus moving forward and not repeating mistakes of the past and all those kind of things which the Italian football establishment is so keen on not getting remotely involved in. With Basso's admission the sport can hopefully avoid a repeat of the tragic story of Marco Pantani and maybe start really cleaning itself up. If only someone in the football establishment would have the balls to open up and talk, and break what has justifiably been described as the culture of omertà which still pervades calcio. Instead of which everyone from top to bottom continues to deny everything... as the paper says, was Moggi making 48 phone calls a day to himself?? One Swiss phone held to his right ear, another Swiss phone to the left...?
Basso's Swiss SIM card, incidentally, was for him to call his Spanish doping doctor on. Now a Princess never likes to be behind with a trend, so I need to get myself Swiss SIM card asap and start committing some kind of 'sporting fraud' (which is a criminal offence in this country, yay! the Italians take the integrity of sport seriously, you see...). Do you think if I call the right people - on my untraceable Swiss phone, that is - then I can get fit without putting any real effort in? now *that* would be a sporting fraud worth talking about.