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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

HILLSBOROUGH DISASTER INQUEST: A FIRST STEP TO JUSTICE FOR THE 96



Justice was served yesterday, up to a point, at least, with the inquiry into the Hillsborough Disaster delivering the verdict that 96 Liverpool supporters were unlawfully killed as a result of a series of events which took place at the club's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989. It was, of course, good news for the families of those who died and a verdict which was long, long overdue.

The Hillsborough Disaster inquiry’s jury had been requested to fill in a fourteen-point questionnaire, and having done so, the results were made available to the general public. It was found that the actions of South Yorkshire police, the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service, Sheffield Wednesday FC and Eastwood & Partners (Wednesday’s consultant engineers) on the day of, and in the days leading up to, the match, were found to have been instrumental in causing the tragedy.

The jury cleared Liverpool supporters of any and all blame for what happened at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough football ground: they found that Liverpool supporters had not indulged in any behaviour which caused the crush at the Leppings Lane turnstiles. By a majority of seven to two, they also delivered the verdict that those who died had been unlawfully killed.

There will be those who will continue to attempt to equate Hillsborough with the Heyselstadion tragedy in May 1985; they were two completely different situations, with the only similarities (apart from supporters sadly, needlessly, tragically, dying) being Liverpool supporters being involved in both situations, decrepit facilities, incompetent police and the incompetent organisation surrounding both matches.

This said, a tiny minority of Liverpool supporters present at Heysel did charge at the supposedly “neutral” section adjacent to where they were housed causing 39 people – in the main, Juventus supporters – to die when a wall collapsed, but to call them, and all Liverpool fans, “murderers” is an overly simplistic, tribally narrow-minded view of the whole situation. This charge, and others like it, is normally made not out of solidarity with those who died in Brussels, but has generally more malicious overtones and is generally made by supporters of other football clubs, who have not been shy about linking both disasters.


The results of the investigation into the sad, shameful events at Heysel – no official inquiry has ever taken place - are available elsewhere, but, to summarise in brief, fourteen Liverpool supporters were found guilty of manslaughter, whilst three Juventus fans were also given custodial sentences. 

Four years later, in 1989, the former head of the Belgian FA and two senior police officers in the Brussels police corps were given six-month suspended sentences, whilst the UEFA president at the time, Jacques Georges, received a conditional discharge. UEFA and the Belgian police were found culpable of, and severely criticised for, allowing a match to be held in a stadium which was, quite frankly, fit only for demolition. (What now for those named at the inquest as being the culprits for what happened at Hillsborough?)

In more recent times, both Liverpool and Juventus were rightly criticised for their lack or response to what happened at the Heyselstadion in May 1985, and for their lack of support for the relatives of those who died there, a contrast to what happened in the days following what became known as the Hillsborough Disaster when the Reds players and staff were solidly behind those affected by the tragedy.

Still, to equate wholly what happened at Hillsborough with the equally tragic events that unfolded at Heysel would not only be incorrect, it would be indecorous. 

The same could be said of those who have continued to use both disasters as a brickbat to swing at Liverpool FC, Liverpool supporters and the good people of Liverpool: politicians, the media, supporters of other football clubs and so on. (Yes, the city of Liverpool has its share of scumbags, but which village, town or city doesn't? Name one..) It is difficult to envisage many of them - and we all know who they are - issuing any genuine apologies to those affected by the tragedy and publicly recanting their opinions any time soon.

The families of the bereaved – who have campaigned for justice via two organised groupings and independently - deserve praise for not giving up the struggle to obtain justice for their lost loved ones. They have shown conviction, courage, immense dignity and no little amount of resilience in the face of much scorn and hostility. Their efforts have now been vindicated.

Liverpool FC, its supporters, everyone living on Merseyside and those outside the region who fought the families’ corner also deserve praise for their unstinting support of those affected by "Hillsborough.” All being well, the families of the bereaved will go on and achieve proper justice, and they - and those who survived the disaster - will receive support, succour and some measure of closure.

The verdict of the inquest into the Hillsborough Disaster does not merely render those who died of their injuries at Hillsborough free of any blame for what happened at the stadium on that awful day back in 1989, but also those who survived. It was a tragedy which was not of their making. It took 27 years for a jury to reach a verdict of unlawful killing, and prosecutions of those responsible for what happened in Sheffield must follow.

It also vindicates not only Liverpool FC but an entire city, a city which has been forced to sit under the shadow of what happened for so long, a city which has been long forced to endure slurs continually flung at it by others for the flimsiest of reasons: because of the city’s politics, because of its comparative poverty, because of the alleged laziness and dishonesty of its inhabitants
(yes, the city of Liverpool has its share of scumbags, but which village, town or city doesn't? Name one..), because many Liverpudlians – in the eyes of others - support the “wrong” football club and because of what happened at the Heyselstadion and at Hillsborough. 


The verdict of the jury is there for all to see and read. It is, however, still only the first step to justice for the 96. It will be a long road until justice is seen to be done, but done it must be, in a correct and timely manner.

To those who still doubt: The deceased, and all Liverpool supporters attending the game at Hillsborough on that black day, have been exonerated. They always were, and remain, innocent.

It wasn't their fault..

Saturday, April 23, 2016

EDOARDO BOSIO, ITALY'S FOOTBALLING PIONEER AND SO MUCH MORE

Footballer, textile worker and salesman, film-maker, producer and canoeist: not a bad description of the life and times of any individual, but history has not so much been unkind to the man featured in this tale as somewhat forgetful of him.

The individual in question is one Edoardo Bosio, an Italian of Swiss descent who was born in the northern city of Turin on 9 November 1864. Nineteen years earlier, his grandfather, Giacomo Bosio, founded the first factory brewery in Turin, which, after being taken over by his father, Edoardo Sr., and his uncle, became known as the Bosio & Caratsch brewery in 1885.  (A quick note to beer enthousiasts: the company was taken over by the Pedavena brewery in 1937, and ceased production in 1969.)

By that time, Giacomo's two youngest sons, Pietro and Augusto, had long since set up the Maniffatura Fratelli Bosio textile firm in a small town near Turin, and the young Edoardo was working as a merchant for the Nottingham-based Thomas Adams lace-manufacturers and was travelling around England and beyond as a result. (Augusto, born in 1849, later became Honorary Swiss Consul to the provinces of Turin, Novara, Alessandria and Cuneo from 1895 until his death in Silvaplana, Switzerland, in October 1910 aged 61.)

Edoardo Bosio then resided in London for a time and there became acquainted with football, so much so that, when he returned to Turin to work for the company in 1887, he founded the Torino Football and Cricket Club, the very first football club in Italy. The club practiced cricket and rowing, at which Bosio was particularly adept, in the summer, and football and mountaineering in the winter.

In an article published in the Gazzetta del Popolo della Domenica in 1891, Bosio, who was apparently a prominent figure in the Società Nicola rowing club, was not only an adept rower, but a rather successful one, too: "He is 24 years old, weighs 72 kilograms and is 1 metre 81 in length," and the article mentioned that he had participated at the Venice and Casale regattas as third rower, and finished as runner-up in the former and won the latter. He won first prize in both two-man and four-man rowing at the Turin regatta in 1888, and took part in the Championship final in Stresa.

There was nobody for Torino Football and Cricket Club to play against in the first year or so of its existence, but other clubs did eventually spring up. One such club was Nobili Torino, founded in 1889 by eminent Italians of the time such as Prince Luigi Amedeo di Savoia-Aosta, Duke of the Abruzzi, and Alfonso Ferrero di Gubernatis Ventimiglia (who eventually went on to serve as president of the Italian FA during 1911 and 1912). 


The two teams met each other in the occasional friendly, and then went on to unite as Internazionale Foot-Ball Club Torino in late 1891 (the exact foundation date is lost). One of the players who played for Internazionale was a young man called Herbert Kilpin, who had come to Italy to work alongside Bosio for Thomas Adams, and who went on to co-found the Milan Cricket and Football Club, nowadays known to one and all as AC Milan.

The Genoa Cricket and Athletic Club was founded in 1893, and, under the title of Genoa Cricket and Football Club - which it adopted in 1899 - is currently the oldest football club still in existence in Italy (and, after some post-war troubles, is firmly ensconsed in Serie A), but not the first to have been founded, as is so often claimed in books, articles and by the club itself. 

Bosio was happily playing away for Internazionale Torino as the 19th Century drew to a close, and Genoa were opponents to a combined Internazionale Torino and Foot-Ball Club Torinese selection in early 1898. Bosio played as the combined team defeated Genoa 1:0.

The first Italian championship had been proposed by a gentleman called Angelo Mosso, who was president of a club called RS Ginnastica di Torino, which had been founded in 1844 but whose football wing was only created in 1897. (Mosso died in 1910 aged 64.)

It was held on a single day, 8/5/1898, in Turin, and the limited reach that football had in Italy at the time could be seen in the number of competing teams and the fact that the teams represented just two cities. A number of clubs had been founded by the time the inaugural Italian championship took place, including Juventus, but only four teams actually took part, and the competition featured not only Internazionale Torino and Genoa, but also Foot-Ball Club Torinese, themselves founded in 1894, and RS Ginnastica di Torino.

As they kicked off in the morning sunshine at the Velodromo Umberto I, the players of Internazionale and RS Ginnastica cemented their places in Italian football history as participants in the very first match in Italian championship history. It was Bosio's Internazionale who went on to win the match by 2 goals to 0 and go through to the final.

Genoa would join Internazionale in the final, having defeated Foot-Ball Club Torinese 1:0 in the other semi-final. The records do not show whether RS Ginnastica and Football-Club Torinese played a match for third place, but the final took place at five o'clock in the afternoon and finished with the score at 1:1 after normal time, before Genoa scored the winning goal in extra-time.

The same two teams went on to contest the final the following year, which took place at the Ponta Carrega velodrome in Genoa, and Genoa retained the championship, winning 2:0. (Internazionale had beaten RS Ginnastica 2:0 in their semi-final.) The match was to be Internazionale's swansong, as the club merged early in 1900 with Foot-Ball Club Torinese.

Bosio, along with five players (including Kilpin and Spensley) from Genoa, and players from Internazionale and Foot-Ball Club Torinese, featured in Italy's first-ever international match, played on 30/4/1899 against Switzerland at the Velodromo Umberto I in Turin. Switzerland came away with a 2:0 win against an Italian team featuring eight foreign players. Neither the Italian nor Swiss footballing authorities recognise the match as an official fixture.

Bosio was in the Foot-Ball Club Torinese side for the 1900 championship, which was being held once again in Turin, and they defeated the newly-formed CFC Milan 3:0 in the semi-final. Here, too, Bosio made history: he became the first player to score a hat-trick in an Italian championship match. Bosio faced Genoa in the final of the Italian Championship for the third time, and yet again it was Genoa who came out on top, winning by a goal to nil. In direct contrast to Bosio's misfortune, Genoa goalkeeper and co-founder James Richardson Spensley won his third championship medal in a row that day; he would go on to collect two more.

By April 1906, Foot-Ball Club Torinese themselves were to disappear into the history books when the club played its last game. The club's players, together with a number of players and staff from the newly-formed Juventus Football Club, went on to form the Football Club Torino. Bosio was not among those who were present at the new club's creation on 3/12/1906 (his name is missing from the club's records, at any rate), and, like his former clubs, he disappeared into history, at least as far as football was concerned.

However, that is not quite the end of Bosio's story; he was apparently well-regarded in commercial circles, and his name turns up in the records of the jury report for the International Exhibition of Industry and Work, which was held in Turin in 1911, presumably to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Italian state. Bosio was listed as a member of the Exhibition's Executive Committee.

He then delved into cinematography, becoming joint-owner of the respected Ferdinando Bietenholz studio the same year - it then became known as Bietenholz & Bosio - which was a photographic wholesalers specialising in English photograpic equipment, printer and enlarger, and an "artistic and industrial reproductions" studio.
 

The pair had employed a promising young film-maker, Carlo Emilio Moncalvo, who then moved to Naples to work for Vesuvio Films. He, Bosio and Bietenholz shot - and Bosio and Bietenholz directed - the acclaimed series of short films titled "La Vegli Negli Abissi del Mare" ("Life in the Depths of the Sea"), a collaboration between Vesuvio Films and Ambrisio Film di Torino which was released in April 1914. 

Whilst shooting the films at Naples Aquarium, they made use of artificial light and other techniques which were, at that time, considered extremely innovative. The Rivista Foto-Cinematografica (Naples) complimented the film for its overcoming the various technical difficulties, such as filming small and/or transparent marine life, by Moncalvo and Bosio employing "especially competent techniques and enormous tenacity."

After the end of the First World War, Bosio had assumed sole ownership of Bietenholz & Bosio, which became known as Ed. Bosio and continued to sell photographic equipment, print and take photographs and so on for clients large and small. Bosio sold his share in the company to Moncalvo (he did remain involved in other businesses, however) before moving to the Swiss town of Davos in 1925, near to the family's ancestral home of Zuoz.

It was there that Bosio died at 11:10pm on Sunday 31 July 1927, although there is no mention of the cause of death. (Whilst researching this article, the local hospital in Davos contacted but they were unable to provide any further information due to the fact that, in Switzerland, patient records are destroyed fifteen years after a patient's death.) He was cremated three days later.

Edoardo Bosio left behind a wife, Johanna (Giovanna) - née Nüssli - and they had a daughter, Giovanna, who was born in November 1907. A death notice which appeared in the Swiss newspaper Tagesszeitung a few days after his death stated that his family came from the tiny village of Zuoz. Due to the vagaries of Swiss law, his actual place of birth was not mentioned, but rather the village where his father was born. Johanna Nüssli died in 1931.

Regardless of the lack of information on his football career compared to the comparatively well-documented careers of Kiplin and Spensley, Edoardo Bosio surely deserves more of a mention in the annals of Italian football history than he receives. He was, after all, Italy's footballing pioneer, a man instumental in the creation and flowering of football in the country, and an extraordinary man in more ways than one.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks are due - in no particular order - to the following individuals for their assistance and patience: Daniela Celoria, Luigi Balice and Maura Baima (Comune Torino), who provided documentary proof of Edoardo Bosio's lineage, ditto Dr. Stefano Vitali (Torino State Archive), Andreas Frei (Davoser Zeitung) for, amongst other things, his assistance with deciphering Swiss law, Claudia Hirt (Spital Davos) and Tina Gruber (Gemeinde Zuoz).

Other information was taken from La Stampa, Wikipedia (to start with) and believe it or not, various websites specialising in the history of Italian beer (http://www.unbicchieredibirra.it, for example), whilst John Foot's encyclopaedic book "Calcio" was the inspiration behind the above article. A plethora of Italian football websites/blogs connected to clubs such as Genoa, Torino and Juventus also provided information and inspiration. As always, the RSSSF website also provided plenty of statistical information.

Apologies for any errors contained in the above article (blame it on my poor Italian..and an on-line translator); they shall be corrected upon notification of same. 

BOSIO THE FILM-MAKER: http://www.riccardomoncalvo.com/#!le-origini/l9tfl

 


Saturday, April 9, 2016

MUSEI VATICANI RETAIN VATICAN CITY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP

Musei Vaticani have retained the Vatican City championship, but they were run very close by Gendarmeria, who lost to them only after a penalty shoot-out in the final, which was played on 21 March. The final itself was put back a week after inclement weather forced the postponement of the first of a series of play-offs, which are detailed in the results list below.

The 2014-15 championship season featured a number of high-scoring matches, with Gendarmeria scoring 54 goals during the entire competition. They defeated Musei Vaticani 2:1 in the season-opener in Octoer, but Musei Vaticani side remained undefeated thereafter.

After coming top during the regular season, Musei Vaticani qualified directly for the final; the teams finishing between second and fifth in the regular season table qualified for what was described by the ACDV (Vatican City FA) as two quarter-finals in what was an extra little twist to the season, and an extra play-off (semi-final) between the winners of both quarter-finals. Gendarmeria, having scored 44 goals during the regular season, scored another nine in their two play-off matches to earn the right to meet Musei Vaticani in the final. They came close to knocking them off their perch, too; the match finished 1:1, and went straight to penalties, with the reigning champions proving the more accurate from the spot, winning 4:3 on penalties.

Please find below the results of the 2015-16 Vatican City championship.


REGULAR SEASON

12/10/15 19:45 Musei Vaticani 1:2 Gendarmeria
12/10/15 20:45 Ass. SS P&P 4:3 Guardia
13/10/15 19:45 Dirtel 4:2 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon
13/10/15 20:45 Virtus 51 1:1 Santos
19/10/15 19:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 1:1 Ass. SS P&P
19/10/15 20:45 Gendarmeria 2:0 Guardia
22/10/15 19:45 Santos 1:4 Musei Vaticani
22/10/15 20:45 Dirtel 4:1 Virtus 51
26/10/15 19:45 Ass. SS P&P 4:3 Gendarmeria
26/10/15 20:45 Virtus 51 6:1 Guardia
27/10/15 19:45 Dirtel 2:2 Santos
27/10/15 20:45 Musei Vaticani 5:1 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon
09/10/15 19:45 Gendarmeria 4:2 Dirtel
09/10/15 20:45 Guardia 0:1 Musei Vaticani
10/10/15 19:45 Santos 3:2 Ass. SS P&P 
10/10/15 20:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 2:3 Virtus 51
16/10/15 19:45 Ass. SS P&P 4:5 Dirtel
16/10/15 20:45 Guardia 3:3 Santos
17/10/15 19:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 3:7 Gendarmeria
17/10/15 20:45 Virtus 51 0:5 Musei Vaticani
23/11/15 19:45 Santos 2:1 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon
23/11/15 20:45 Dirtel 4:2 Guardia
26/11/15 19:45 Musei Vaticani 4:0 Ass. SS P&P
30/11/15 19:45 Santos 4:1 Gendarmeria
01/12/15 19:45 Dirtel 0:0 Musei Vaticani
01/12/15 20:45 Virtus 51 3:4 Ass. SS P&P
14/12/15 19:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 4:2 Dirtel
14/12/15 20:45 Guardia 3:4 Ass. SS P&P
15/12/15 19:45 Gendarmeria 2:2 Musei Vaticani
15/12/15 20:45 Santos 4:1 Virtus 51
18/12/15 20:45 Gendarmeria 2:1 Virtus 51 (rearranged from 26/11/15)
21/12/15 20:45 Guardia 2:2 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon (rearranged from 30/11/15)
18/01/16 19:45 Ass. SS P&P 1:1 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon
18/01/16 20:45 Guardia 0:4 Gendarmeria
19/01/16 19:45 Musei Vaticani 4:1 Santos
19/01/16 20:45 Virtus 51 0:2 Dirtel
25/01/16 19:45 Gendarmeria 4:1 Ass. SS P&P
25/01/16 20:45 Guardia 4:5 Virtus 51 
26/01/16 19:45 Santos 4:0 Dirtel
26/01/16 20:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 1:2 Musei Vaticani
01/02/16 19:45 Dirtel 0:5 Gendarmeria
01/02/16 20:45 Musei Vaticani 3:1 Guardia
02/02/16 19:45 Ass. SS P&P 1:4 Santos
02/02/16 20:45 Virtus 51 1:5 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon
08/02/16 19:45 Dirtel 8:0 Ass. SS P&P
08/02/16 20:45 Santos 5:2 Guardia
09/02/16 19:45 Gendarmeria 2:4 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon
09/02/16 20:45 Musei Vaticani 1:0 Virtus 51
15/02/16 19:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 4:2 Santos
15/02/16 20:45 Guardia 0:3 Dirtel (walkover)
16/02/16 19:45 Ass. SS P&P 0:7 Musei Vaticani
16/02/16 20:45 Virtus 51 0:3 Gendarmeria (walkover)
22/02/16 19:45 Musei Vaticani 2:1 Dirtel
22/02/16 20:45 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 5:1 Guardia
23/02/16 19:45 Gendarmeria 3:3 Santos
23/02/16 20:45 Ass. SS P&P 3:0 Virtus 51 (walkover)



TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
MUSEI VATICANI
14
11
2
1
41
10
35
31
GENDARMERIA
14
9
2
3
44
25
29
19
SANTOS
14
7
4
3
39
29
25
10
DIRTEL
14
7
2
5
38
30
23
8
FORTITUDO 2007/PANTHEON
14
5
3
6
36
35
18
1
Ass. SS P&P
14
5
2
7
29
49
17
-20
Virtus 51
14
3
1
10
22
41
10
-19
Guardia
14
0
2
12
22
51
2
-29


Musei Vaticani qualified directly for the final; the teams finishing between second and fifth in the regular season table qualified for what was described by the ACDV as two quarter-finals, and an extra play-off (semi-final) between the winners of both quarter-finals. The first quarter-final between Gendarmeria and Fortitudo was scheduled for 29/02/16, but had to be called off at the last minute due to inclement weather conditions. The match was eventually played on 07/03/16.



SEMI-FINALS


29/02/16 20:45 Santos 2:3 Dirtel
07/03/16 19:45 Gendarmeria 6:1 Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon 

PLAY-OFF

14/03/16 19:45 Gendarmeria 3:2 Dirtel

FINAL

21/03/16 19:45 Musei Vaticani 1:1 Gendarmeria (Musei Vaticani win 4:3 on pens.)

FINAL POSITIONS

CHAMPIONS: MUSEI VATICANI
RUNNERS-UP: Gendarmeria
3RD: Dirtel
4TH: Santos
5TH: Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon

TOP SCORERS

20 Sperati (Fortitudo 2007/Pantheon)
17 Carilli (Gendarmeria)
17 Goxhaj (Dirtel)
15 Chirieletti (Gendarmeria)
11 Panella (Saa. DD P&P)
9   Berdini (Musei Vaticani)
9   Bnà (Musei Vaticani)
9   Morabito (Santos)

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks as always to all representing the ACDV for forwarding the results.