1980 Totonero

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Totonero 1980 or Totonero was a match-fixing scandal in Italy in 1980 in Serie A and Serie B. The participants in this scandal were Avellino, Bologna, Lazio, Milan, and Perugia of Serie A and Palermo and Taranto of Serie B, all of whom were declared guilty after the trials.[1] Notably, Paolo Rossi was suspended for three years (reduced to two on appeal),[2] and upon his return helped Italy in their successful 1982 FIFA World Cup campaign.[3]


In 1946, Italy introduced a state-run pool for citizens to bet on football, called the Totocalcio. It was the only form of legalized football betting in the country until the late 1990s. For fans to win, they needed to correctly pick the outcome of 12 games, making it virtually impossible for the pool to be fixed since so many matches were involved.[4] Because of this, the only way to bet on a single match or the winners of events like the Coppa Italia or Serie A was to bet with illegal bookmakers.[4]

The plan was created in 1979 by restaurant owner Alvaro Trinca and his supplier Massimo Cruciani at Trinca's restaurant in Rome. The restaurant was a popular spot for many Lazio players, who agreed to fix matches in exchange for a cut of the money.[1] The first match arranged to be fixed was a friendly between Lazio and Palermo on 1 November 1979, which ended in a draw as planned. However, many of the games did not end as planned, and Trinca and Cruciani reportedly lost over 100 million lire by February 1980 (worth around US$117,000 in 1980 dollars or over US$400,000 in 2022).[1][5]

On 1 March 1980, Trinca and Cruciani filed a report with Rome's Public Prosecutor with the names of 27 players and 13 clubs across Serie A and Serie B.[1] Trinca was arrested eight days later and Cruciani three days after that. On 23 March, the Guardia di Finanza arrested 13 players as well as Milan president Felice Colombo immediately after the final whistle of that day's matches. All of those arrested were acquitted of criminal charges because there was no law against match fixing in Italy at the time.[1]


Club punishments[edit]

  • Milan (Serie A); relegated to Serie B.[6]
  • Lazio (Serie A); relegated to Serie B (10 million lire fine and 5 point penalty in original punishment).[6]
  • Avellino (Serie A); 5 point penalty in Serie A 1980–81.
  • Bologna (Serie A); 5 point penalty in Serie A 1980–81.
  • Perugia (Serie A); 5 point penalty in Serie A 1980–81.
  • Palermo (Serie B); 5 point penalty in Serie B 1980–81 (acquitted in original verdict).
  • Taranto (Serie B); 5 point penalty in Serie B 1980–81 (acquitted in original verdict).

Individual punishments[edit]




  • Perugia and Taranto were both relegated from their respective leagues following the 1980–81 season. Perugia would have been relegated even without the point deduction, but Taranto would have been safe had they not been given the five point penalty.
  • All of the players whose bans were still active when Italy won the 1982 World Cup were reinstated soon after.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Quando il pallone si sgonfiò: 40 anni fa lo scandalo-Totonero che travolse la Serie A". Sportmediaset (in Italian). 23 March 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  2. ^ "The worst scandal of them all". BBC. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Rossi sinks the Brazilians". BBC. 10 April 2002. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Italian soccer scandal of 1980". US Soccer Players. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  5. ^ "Inflation Calculator | Find US Dollar's Value from 1913-2021". www.usinflationcalculator.com. 2021-12-10. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  6. ^ a b Italian FA under emergency rule, BBC Sport, 16 May 2006.