Friday, July 14, 2006

VERDICTS - Juve, Fiorentina & Lazio demoted, Milan escape

With World Cup victory celebrations still echoing through the streets of Italy, a sports tribunal in Rome shattered a nation’s euphoria by demoting three top Serie A teams for their involvement in a match-fixing scandal on Friday July 14.

Juventus, Italy’s most successful club, were plunged into a nightmare scenario. As well as being relegated to Serie B, they were given a 30-point penalty, which means that they have almost no hope of immediate promotion and may even have to battle against relegation to Serie C. The Turin club, whose former general manager, Luciano Moggi, was said to be the ringleader of the match-fixing network, were also stripped of the championships they have won in the past two seasons. Resisting calls for leniency, the five-man panel from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) also sent Lazio and Fiorentina down to Serie B. They will start next season with seven and 12-point deductions respectively. AC Milan, owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, will be allowed to stay in Serie A, but with a 15-point penalty. All four clubs lost their places in European competition next season as the authorities cracked down on corruption.

The sentences, read out in a Rome hotel by Cesare Ruperto (pictured), the tribunal head, were lighter than those requested by the federation prosecutor Stefano Palazzi. He had urged that Juve be relegated to the third division and the other three to be be relagted into the Second division with heavy points deductions.

The trial focused on the repeated attempts of club executives to interfere with the selection of officials who, according to prosecutors, were relied upon to affect results thanks to apparently minor decisions. Moggi was banned from taking any job in football for five years. He resigned soon after the scandal broke, as did Antonio Giraudo, the Juventus managing director, who received the same punishment. AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani was also punished as a result of the investigation. Galliani was handed a one-year suspension from all football activities while Lazio president Claudio Lotito was banned for three years and his Fiorentina counterpart, Andrea Della Valle, was given a four-year punishment. Referee Massimo De Santis, who had been due to officiate at the World Cup before becoming embroiled in the investigation, has been suspended from football for four and a half years and former FIGC President Franco Carraro was also handed a four-year suspension. They all denied charges of sporting fraud and unfair conduct.

The four clubs will have up to five days to appeal to the Federal Court but a final verdict has to be announced before July 25, when the FIGC must give UEFA, Europe's football governing body, the list of teams that will compete in the continental club competitions in the 2006/07 campaign.

Subject to any appeals, the rulings mean that Inter Milan and Roma will gain automatic qualification to the Champions League, with Chievo and Palermo going into the qualifiers for the tournament. Livorno, Parma and Empoli will be entered into the UEFA Cup. In addition, Lecce, Messina, and Treviso will avoid relegation to Serie B and keep their places in the top flight as a result of the verdict.

Here’s a brief rundown of all the sentences handed out...

Juve were demoted to last place in the 2004-05 season and stripped of that season’s title. Their 2005-06 Serie A title win has also been wiped out. They will start next season in Serie B with a 30-point deduction. They have also been banned from the Champions League. Former directors Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo have been banned from football for five years.

The Viola have been relegated to Serie B with a 12-point penalty for the 2006-07 campaign. President Andrea Della Valle has been banned for three and half years. His brother Diego, the club’s honorary President, is suspended for four years.

The Rome club are relegated to Serie B with a seven-point penalty for the 2006-07 campaign. President Claudio Lotito is banned for three years.

AC Milan
Milan stay in Serie A, but will start next season with a 15-point deduction. They were also deducted 44 points from last season’s point tally which means they 'failed' to qualify for the Champions League. Vice-President Adriano Galliani is banned for a year, while official Leonardo Meani is suspended for three and a half years.

Referees' Association (AIA) Officials
Refereeing designator Paolo Bergamo is deferred while Pierluigi Pairetto, is banned for two and half years. Former President Tullio Lanese is banned for two and a half years, Vice-commissioner Gennaro Mazzei is banned for a year and observer Pietro Ingargiola is cautioned.

Massimo De Santis is banned for four and half years, Paolo Dondarini banned for three and half years and Gianluca Paparesta is banned for three months. Pasquale Rodomonti, Paolo Bertini, Domenico Messina, Gianluca Rocchi and Paolo Tagliavento were all cleared of any wrongdoing.

Claudio Puglisi and Fabrizio Babini have been banned for a year.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Officials
Former President Franco Carraro has been banned for four and half years. Vice-President Innocenzo Mazzini is suspended for a full five years.

View the sentences in full (Italian) >>>
View the 2004-05 & 2005-06 table here >>>
View the revised 2005-06 table here (pending appeals) >>>


Blogger calciofan said...

All four clubs have hit out at the verdicts and have confirmed they would appeal...

Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli has announced his club will appeal against the punishment handed out following the investigation into match-fixing. Cobolli Gigli has reacted angrily to the news and vowed to fight the punishment. "This verdict is unheard of," he said. "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."

Fiorentina also immediately announced their intentions to appeal against the punishment. "Fiorentina take note of the verdict given by the Federal Appeal Commission but retains it profoundly unjust," said a statement on the club's official website, "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." Honorary President Diego Della Valle admitted that he was stunned by the harsh sentence imposed on the Viola. “I don’t even want to think about what happens if the appeal fails,” said the shoe baron who has also been suspended for four years. We’re preparing the appeal so that we have facts rather than words to defend us.”

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." He was adamant that he would do everything in his power to reverse the verdict. “We will do everything we can to defend our club, we will go to every court even the European Courts of Justice.”

Milan managed to avoid the drop to Serie B but were also unhappy with the verdict, which means they will not be able to play in the Champions League next season. "AC Milan retains the decision by the CAF of extraordinary injustice," said a statement on "We will appeal once the documents of the verdict will be available, with the certainty that the procedure will be radically modified by appeal." Milan have refused to rule out court action. “There are lots of reasons to challenge this contradictory verdict,” insisted the Rossoneri’s lawyer Leandro Cantamessa. “I read the whole verdict and there’s no explanation for 59 points that have been deducted.”

Meanwhile, the man at the centre of the scandal Luciano Moggi, reacted by saying: “All the results were earned on the pitch. I'm not saddened for myself but for the teams involved and for their fans who have been cheated by it."

5:23 am  

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