Berlusconi apologizes while Italy shuts down soccer

The unending drama that is Italian life. Where people and institutions fight and make up in extraordinary public displays. Today, the newspapers are reporting that Italian ex-PM, Silvio Berlusconi made a public apology to his wife after she conveyed her unhappiness at his flirtatious behaviour with a Monica Bellucci lookalike (An impostor. For there can only be one Monica Bellucci) by writing an extra-ordinary letter to the Republicca, a newspaper that has been critical of Berlusconi in the past.
Meantime, the soccer violence that consumed the Catania and Palermo game that resulted in the death of Filippo Raciti, a 38 year old police officee and 150 fans injured has resulted in the highest echelons of power promising drastic action. Romano Prodi, the Italian PM issued a statement “We cannot continuously put the lives of police officers at risk and need a remedy that makes soccer clubs feel responsible (for fans’ actions) and radically changes the situation,” Prodi told reporters in Bologna. All matches have been indefinitely suspended and Italy’s friendly against Romania this Wednesday has been cancelled. How this affects Italian clubs in the Champions League with AC Milan playing Celtic on the 20th and then Inter playing Valencia on the 21st of this month is as yet to be decided.
Whether this is another Calciopoli, where Italian soccer promised to clean up house by relegating all the offending clubs as a first step to stamping out match fixing only to recant in the face of overwhelming political pressure and impose the much lighter sentence of point deductions remains to be seen. Romano Prodi is the ex-chairman of the EU and one of Europe’s most powerful voices. His direct involvement reflects not just an concern with spiraling soccer violence in his country but a larger phenomenon occurring in Germany, Netherlands, France, and many Eastern European countries. Some of the EU nations question admitting new members (read Turkey) into the fold on the grounds of how “civilized” some of these countries are. Soccer violence should remind these countries that they too adhere to certain standards of behaviour before they pass judgement.

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