Thursday, June 29, 2006

'Calciopoli' trial begins

The 'Calciopoli' trial that could see four of Italy’s biggest clubs demoted from Serie A kicked-off at Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday. Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio – plus 26 individuals including Federation officials and referees – were indicted for sporting fraud last week in relation to a number of intercepted phone calls during the 2004-05 campaign.

Should any club be found guilty of wrongdoing, they could face a points deduction or demotion to a lower Division. Juventus may also be stripped of their last two Serie A titles. Individuals, none of whom are players, found guilty face suspensions from involvement in the game.

Cesare Ruperto, the tribunal’s President, declared the trial open at 9.30 local time with a roll call of the accused in arguably the biggest scandal to hit the Italian game in its history.

A total of six judges are hearing the case, which is simultaneously being televised to a nearby room in the arena which is expected to house up to 150 journalists from all over the world at any one time. Only members of the CAF tribunal, the accused and their lawyers will be allowed to enter the room where the trial is taking place.

Ruperto opened the sports trial by reading out the names of the accused to check if they were present. Former Italian Football Federation (FIGC) chief Franco Carraro, who quit in the aftermath of the revelations, was the first of the accused to arrive. He was followed by ex-FIGC colleague Innocenzo Mazzini and referee Massimo De Santis whose World Cup dream evaporated after he was named as part of the probe. Ex-Juventus general director Luciano Moggi (pictured), at the centre of the scandal, was not present. He claims he has no case to answer after he quit the club to walk away from football. Milan Vice-President and outgoing Lega Calcio (Italian Football League) chief Adriano Galliani, another of the accused, was present.

According to a strict timetable which has been drawn up by FIGC commissioner Guido Rossi, a verdict will be delivered between July 7 and 9. Any appeal verdicts will be handed out before July 20. The FIGC have set themselves such boundaries in an effort to inform UEFA of their European participants by July 27.

THOSE INDICTED: Juventus, Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Luciano Moggi, Antonio Giraudo, Adriano Galliani, Leonardo Meani, Andrea Della Valle, Diego Della Valle, Sandro Mencucci, Claudio Lotito, Cosimo Maria Ferri, Franco Carraro, Innocenzo Mazzini, Tullio Lanese, Paolo Bergamo, Pierluigi Pairetto, Gennaro Mazzei, Pietro Ingargiola, Paolo Bertini, Massimo De Santis, Paolo Dondarini, Fabrizio Babini, Domenico Messina, Gianluca Paparesta, Gianluca Rocchi, Pasquale Rodomonti, Paolo Tagliavento, Claudio Puglisi.


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