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Old July 14, 2006, 05:50 PM
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Talking Italian trio relegated to Serie B

Serie A sides Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina have been demoted to the second division for their involvement in Italy's match-fixing scandal.

Juventus were also stripped of their last two Serie A titles and had 30 points deducted, meaning they are likely to stay down for two seasons.

AC Milan will stay in Serie A but will start the season docked 15 points.
All are barred from playing in Europe - Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina in the Champions League; Lazio the Uefa Cup.

Lazio were penalised seven league points while Fiorentina suffered a 12-point penalty.

Inter, Roma, Chievo and Palermo, who finished third, fifth and seventh and eighth are in line to take the places of the penalised clubs in next season's Champions League.

Subject to appeals, Lecce, Messina, and Treviso will avoid relegation to Serie B and keep their places in the top flight as a result of the verdict.

But all four clubs hit out at the verdict and hinted they would appeal.

They have three days to appeal to the Federal Court, but they may find they will run out of time to rescue their European places regardless of the outcome of any appeal because the deadline for entry is only 11 days away.

The FIGC (Italian football's governing body) must hand its European counterpa
rt Uefa the lists of teams that will be involved in its competitions by 25 July.

Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said: "This verdict is unheard of. We expected a balanced sentence not only in form but in substance, our expectations were different ones.

"We could have expected relegation to the second division but to be also handed a 30-point deduction is almost like relegation to the third division. We will appeal."

A statement on Fiorentina's official site called the decision "profoundly unjust".
It added: "Fiorentina wishes to reiterate the absolute correctness of the club and of their own executives.

"Fiorentina will fight with every means possible so that the truth of the facts are revealed."

An AC Milan statement said: "AC Milan retains the decision by the CAF of extraordinary injustice.

"We will appeal once the documents of the verdict will be available, with the certainty that the procedure will be radically modified by appeal."

Lazio president Claudio Lotito, who was banned for three years for his part in the scandal, was fuming following the verdict.

"I think this sentence is provisional as it's based on a theorem which is completely ridiculous," he said.

"I will not make any decisions until a final sentence is given."

Individuals directly involved with the scandal were also penalised.

Former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi and ex-chief executive Antonio Giraudo were suspended from football for the maximum five years, with a recommendation to the FIGC to make it for life.

AC Milan vice-resident Adriano Galliani was suspended for one year.

Moggi reacted by saying: "I'm not saddened for myself but for the teams involved and for their fans."

The tribunal in Rome investigated charges that the clubs, their management, football officials and referees tried to influence the outcome of matches by interfering with the appointment of officials.

In May, transcripts were published of telephone conversations between Moggi and Italian Football Association officials, discussing refereeing appointments in the 2004-05 season.

FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi also charged 26 individuals for sporting fraud and violating fairness and probity.

All four clubs implicated denied the accusations.

Thirteen of Italy's World Cup-winning squad play for the clubs involved, with five at Juventus, who also number Patrick Vieira, Lilian Thuram, David Trezeguet, Pavel Nedved and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their ranks.

Many of them are expected to seek transfers to other leading clubs in Italy or Europe to limit the damage to their careers.

Source: BBC
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