AC Milan have reacted angrily to allegations that they are receiving favourable treatment from referees to help them qualify for the Champions League.
Television presenter and Inter Milan fan Paolo Bonolis used Inter's in-house television channel to air his suspicions about Milan's recent good form in Serie A.
His comments came after Inter were beaten 4-3 at home by Atalanta on Sunday, with German Denis' second-half penalty starting a comeback and inspiring head coach Andrea Stramaccioni to accuse referee Andrea Gervasoni of "seeing something that wasn't there" in awarding the decision for handball against Walter Samuel in the box.
"The pretext is now clear, there must be a script with an end already written for Milan, who have made investments and want to be brought into the Champions League," Bonolis said.
"It's a comedy. It's obvious. There have been certain decisions that were surely made around a table.
"While Inter are completely denied any penalties, they give them [to Milan]. It is important to defuse anything that could jeopardise their project - the gigantic comedy - that has the predetermined outcome I mentioned.
"The other teams are just extras in the scene. The script has already been written. We know who the murderer is, who the winner will be, and who the loser will be.
"If I were [Inter] president [Massimo] Moratti, I'd just field the youth team. You can no longer believe in the good faith of the officials - it is all a comedy.
"It is so blatant that now you just close your eyes as we are denied obvious penalties and non-existent ones are given against us. It just makes you sad."
Milan, who drew 2-2 against Fiorentina on Sunday, lead Inter by two places and eight points and responded with a strongly-worded statement on their official website.
"The statements of Paolo Bonolis, broadcast on Inter Channel and published on Inter's official site, apart from being without foundation appear to be exceptionally serious," the statement said.
Inter president Massimo Moratti joined his coach in pre-empting Bonolis' admission of a lack of faith in Italian officials on Sunday night and, following Milan's public reaction, Moratti spoke to Inter's official website again.
"I've not changed my mind and I'm still angry," he said. "When there is a desire to speak out, we will.
"When there was doubt over [Tommaso] Rocchi's penalty appeal, he gave it, but when there was no doubt, because nothing had happened, he gave the penalty against us. And here we are - 21 matches since we were last awarded a penalty.
"I'm not Bonolis, though. I think it's up to Bonolis to respond to what Milan have said. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, just like the one I've expressed about all this damage. And he can have his. We live in a free country where you can say these things."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.