Anyone who has read the wonderful "Miracle of Castel di Sangro" by Joe McGinniss or who has paid even a little attention to Italian football's woes will be aware that betting and match fixing has been a significant problem - particularly in Serie B and Serie C (the divisions just below the top Serie A) though Serie A has also had its well-publicised problems including calciopoli.
Pirlo argues that the root of the problem lies in legalised betting. He says "For me, the authorities should take a drastic decision with regards to Serie B and Serie C: make it impossible to bet on those leagues". In these leagues there are players that have not been paid for weeks he says and so they get together to fix games. He recognises this will simply be replaced by illegal betting through the Mafia but this is a problem to be be sorted out subsequently.
His further suggestions are perhaps more unusual. He says:
In addition to getting rid of betting, there should be incentives for winning. I'll give you an example of how it might work. Team B are second in the league and up against Team C, who don't have anything much to play for. If Team B lose, Team A (currently top of the table) go on to win the league. So Team A approach Team C and say: "Here's some money. It's yours if you beat Team B."
The issue is the involvement of another club in the payment. Pirlo doesn't make clear whether his proposal is that Team A would make payments to Team C or the players of Team C. This is probably important. Would players be particularly inspired if their club received a bonus? They certainly would if they were to receive it directly. However, it isn't difficult to conceive of a situation where it may be in players' interests at some clubs to see a large pay day if their own club is mid-table ("so lets not push for the final Europa League spot") and they face a title-challenging rich club on the final day of the season.
Also, it opens the door to larger and/or richer clubs paying players at other clubs to do better against all the other clubs or a select few throughout the season. And if every club was to pay every other clubs' players?
The initial objection on fairness or moral grounds may not stack up but there is probably more than enough potential for perverse incentives and unforeseen consequences, as well as efficiency arguments, to keep Andrea Pirlo's proposal under wraps.