Last week, following the Supercoppa between Juventus and Milan, the hashtag #JuveOut began trending in Italy.
The social media campaign appears to have been started by an Inter fan in the wake of the Bianconeri’s controversial win in Jeddah. “I’m trying to launch a hashtag which will serve to organise a widespread protest for a country which loves football and can no longer tolerate certain tricks: #JuveOut,” Interismo Cosmico wrote. “We ask Serie A to remove Juventus from our league”.
Provo a lanciare un hashtag che possa servire per organizzare la protesta diffusa di tutto un paese che ama il calcio e non può più tollerare certe prese in giro: #JuveOut— Interismo Cosmico (@intercosmico) January 16, 2019
Chiediamo alla @SerieA l'estromissione della società Juventus FC dal nostro campionato#JuveMilan
Juve had beaten Milan 1-0 thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal, but several controversial incidents had happened over the 90 minutes. Franck Kessie was correctly sent off, but Blaise Matuidi escaped without a red card for a similar foul. The Rossoneri were also denied a clear penalty for Emre Can’s foul, which bizarrely wasn’t referred to VAR.
So, a slam dunk, right? Not quite. Matuidi’s challenge should have been referred to VAR, but it wasn’t as clear an offence as Kessie’s. And Juve had their own claims for a penalty when the ball struck Cristian Zapata’s arm, though for this writer at least it was unintentional. Much like Can’s foul on Conti though, it was never even referred to VAR.
The problem with the #JuveOut movement is that it’s just all too easy. Juventus win not because they have the most money, the best squad, and spent €100m on Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, but because the club is orchestrating some grand conspiracy among referees and those who run the game.
That assertion is, quite frankly, ludicrous and the conspiracy must extend to Europe too, after the Champions League Finals reached in 2015 and 2017. How galling for the Old Lady that the conspiracy ended right before she faced a better team with more resources in the showpiece match.
This movement is indicative of a deep and legitimate problem in Italian football, namely that there’s no trust in the people who run the game. After the failure to qualify for the 2016 World Cup there was plenty of talk about revolution, but the heads of the FIGC are Gabriele Gravina, Gaetano Miccichè and Cosimo Sibilia, old, white men who have been insiders for years.
There are issues with referees too, with rules applied inconsistently and VAR protocol seemingly followed on a random basis - Serie A is a league of arbitrary arbitri.
Turning to crazy conspiracy theories won’t address any of this though, indeed it’s the oldest trick in the book. There’s nothing that can be done about massive global inequality because lizard people run the world, and America doesn’t have to re-examine its relationship with guns because all the mass shootings are orchestrated by the government anyway.
Similarly there’s no discussion to be had about the leadership of Italian football, or refereeing standards, because Juventus run it all anyway. One Rai 2 director even claimed the Bianconeri manipulate VAR images.
On the other side, many Juve fans insist anyone asserting Milan should have had a penalty in the Supercoppa, or Miralem Panic should have been sent off against Inter last season, is “bitter” and jealous”.
Calls go against Juventus too, as a quick perusal of the #JuveOut feed will show. The root of the campaign isn’t conspiracy, it’s incompetence and nepotism. Perhaps #ChangeSerieA would be a better hashtag, but don’t expect that one to catch on.
It’s much easier to rant about the calcio illuminati instead.