A cross-party group of Juventus fans in Italy’s parliament have called upon the government to intervene to protect the club from the repurcussions of the recent doping trial.
The members of parliament asked the justice minister to examine the case in which the team’s doctor, Riccardo Agricola, was handed a 22-month prison sentence after being found guilty last November of administering the banned blood booster EPO in the 1990s.
“Juventus doesn’t need anyone’s help, least of all ours,” said Maurizio Paniz, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.
“(But) we thought it was right, as Italian parliamentarians, to defend the image of a team that is a well known ‘Made in Italy’ brand abroad, a strong image which does the country proud,” he told ANSA news agency.
However, non-Juve fans both inside and outside parliament were annoyed by what they saw as political interference in a legal case.
“Once upon a time people said that some referees wore black and white pants under their shorts,” said Roberto Giachetti, a Roman member of parliament for the Daisy party, referring to Juve’s colours.
“I hope the same mentality doesn’t apply on the parliamentary benches.”