Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Appeals date set

Juventus, Lazio, Fiorentina and AC Milan will begin their appeals against their penalties on Saturday 22 July. Milan will appeal against a 15-point fine, while the others are challenging points fines and relegation to Serie B. All four clubs filed appeals before the deadline on Monday evening. "The appeals process, following the sentences of the tribunal, will start on Saturday morning," appeals court president Piero Sandulli told state broadcaster RAI.

It’s unclear when an appeals verdict will be delivered. If none is given before July 25 then Italy’s European entrants will be based on the initial sentences. That would mean Inter will be joined in the Champions League by Roma, Chievo and Palermo. The UEFA Cup situation is still unclear though. Although Livorno and Parma would be promoted to the competition, Empoli have been denied a UEFA licence. That may allow AC Milan to sneak in.

The clubs' appeals will argue that the sports tribunal, which found the four clubs guilty, failed to give the accused clubs the means to defend themselves by banning witness and video evidence. The clubs will also argue their punishment is too harsh, with Juventus facing the prospect of not returning to Champions League action for three years.

Sandulli added: "I don't agree with those who argue that during the sports tribunal there were limitations in the defence rights. We are in a judicial situation that the clubs accepted and agreed to in the moment they signed up to be memebers of the Italian Football Federation."

However, by appealing, the quartet risk further punishment as prosecutor Stefano Palazzi is to resubmit his original recommendations, which called for far stronger sentences. Palazzi had asked for Juventus to be demoted to “a league lower than Serie B”, and AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio to be relegated to Serie B with larger points deductions.


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