Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Isabella Merzagora, Guido Vittorio Travaini


Relation between sport and crime could be described in many ways: sport could lead to criminal conducts, athlets could become victims, sport activities could be seen as a social tool to prevent crime, just to name a few. Nowadays, at least in Italy, hooliganism has been the most examined aspect of this topic, while little or no has been studied concerning the not so conventional kind of crimes nor the organized ones, especially doping and illegal football pools. Authors, who established a working group called: “Legaspo” (Sport Legality), examined different documents, such as some sentences and the papers concerning Italian inquieries called “Totonero” and “Last Bet”; also, some young athlets have been interviewed and asked to do some questioannaires. Authors, after all these analysis, employ theoretical acquisitions taken from subcultures and differential associations theories, on doping and illegal football pools phenomena, coining a new theory called differential subcultures. The rules of this new theory are shown below:
1. the most important thing is to win, at any price;
2. the most important thing is to win, even if this means behave dangerously for your health;
3. what could be called “ethic” is defined by people around you in that moment
4. earning money is more important than winning
5. as long as you earn money, it doesn’t matter the group of people you decide to spend your time with.
Results show that repressive actions alone can’t be enough to prevent crime and, in addition, it is desirable a cultural and
educational method to legality.


Professore Ordinario di Criminologia, Università degli studi di Milano

Isabella Merzagora

Professore a contratto di Criminologia, Università degli studi di Milano

Guido Vittorio Travaini
Contacts: Isabella Merzagora, Sezione di Medicina Legale, Università degli studi di Milano, via Luigi Mangiagalli 37, 20133 Milano, Tel. 02/50315676 - e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n° 4/2014


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