Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welfare & the Italian national team 

Economists are used to the fact that government spending gets diverted towards strange special interests. But this example from the sports world is stunning:
European Union funds meant to help a poor region of Italy are set to be spent sponsoring the Italian national football team.

The regional government in Calabria, a southern province, wants the money to go on promotional branding during Italy's World Cup campaign.

It would cost them 1.8m euros (£1.4m) over three years.

Regional officials argue it can help raise the profile of their area, both within Italy and overseas.

The idea is that the promotion will attract more tourists to Calabria....

According to one website promoting Italian tourism, Calabria is currently "little-respected by other Italians and little-known to tourists".

It is also home to the N'Drangheta, one of Italy's most powerful and violent mafia organisations.
While I'm no expert, one possibly productive use of the money would be to fight corruption. </naivete'>

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Giorgio! 

Was the former Italy & Cosmos great (&ABC studio analyst) Giorgio Chinaglia involved in mafia corruption? This is sad, if true:
A notorious Italian organized crime gang tried to buy soccer club Lazio through third parties using funds gained from violence and intimidation, authorities said on Tuesday.

The plan by the Casalesi clan of the Camorra, the Naples version of the mafia, came to light as police in Rome served arrest warrants to 10 people including former Lazio player and president Giorgio Chinaglia.

In 2006, Lazio president Claudio Lotito was given police protection after receiving threats from "ultra" fans who were allegedly trying to intimidate him into selling to a consortium led by Chinaglia.

Chinaglia was charged with market-rigging linked to his bid and had since been a fugitive in the United States. Allegations that the mafia were behind his bid have only now been revealed.

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