Tuesday, July 25, 2006

APPEAL VERDICTS: Reductions for all - Viola & Lazio reinstated to Serie A

The Italian clubs implicated in the match-fixing scandal have had their punishments slashed on appeal. The Federal Court has returned Fiorentina and Lazio back to Serie A, while cut the points penalties for Juventus and AC Milan.

The verdicts were finally delivered on Tuesday 25 July at the Parco Dei Principi Hotel in Rome with all four of the convicted clubs being handed reductions on their initial sentences. President of the appeals court, Piero Sandulli (pictured), and his panel ruled that the Turin club at the centre of the most explosive scandal in Italy's footballing history should be relegated to Serie B, as decided earlier this month, but with barely half the 30-points handicap originally imposed for the coming season. Juve, who are still stripped of the Serie A titles they won in the past two seasons, have been fined €120,000 (£85,000). But the sports judges' reduction in the points handicap means that Juventus could be back in the top division by the start of the 2007-08 season.

The relegations of Fiorentina and Lazio were revoked but penalties of 30 points each from last season's table means neither is in Europe next season. The two sides will remain in Serie A but will start with hefty handicaps of 19 and 11 points respectively which will mean both start the season under the shadow of relegation.

The important news for Silvio Berlusconi's Milan, who were not facing relegation from Serie A, is that they are back in the Champions League in the coming season, albeit in the preliminary round. The threatened docking of 44 points from last season, which would have removed Milan from the qualifying places for Europe, was cut to 30. They will also now start the new season with an eight-point deficit rather than the 15 imposed by the CAF court on July 14.

In addition, Juventus and Fiorentina were told they must play their first three home games of the 2006-07 campaigns at neutral grounds. Lazio were given a two-match stadium ban and Milan one match. The court also confirmed the five-year bans for former Juventus executives Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo - the figures at the centre of the scandal. Other key figures, including Adriano Galliani (Milan vice-President), Claudio Lotito (Lazio President), Andrea (Fiorentina President) and Diego Della Valle (Fiorentina Honoury President), and the former FIGC President Franco Carraro, had their initial senetences reduced.

With the various points penalties and Juve's relegation, Inter Milan come out on top of last season's standings with a tally of 76 points - and the Italian FA decided to hand them the 2006 Scudetto. The 2004-05 title has been revoked and will remain vacant for the time being.

Juventus are now the only one of the four implicated clubs to be demoetd to Serie B, and the Turin club immediately said that they would now appeal again - possibly through a civil court if necessary. Juve's club lawyer Cesare Zaccone told Italian news agency Ansa the appeal court's decision was "incredible." And club chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said in a statement: "We absolutely cannot accept this sentence. Putting into light what has occurred, this verdict can not be considered as balanced. I find it serious and totally unfair the diversity of verdict that separates Juventus from the other clubs. For this reason, we have decided to continue our appeals in every possible forum. I can assure everyone that we won’t stop until justice is done, in the interest of our extraordinary fans, our shareholders, the club and the Italian championship".

Fiorentina owner Diego Della Valle also raised the possibility of an appeal in the civil courts, saying after the hearing: "We will continue in respect of rules and law. We want to play in the Champions League. This appeal is a first step. We did nothing and I repeat, we don't want to lose Champions League qualification after having achieved it on the pitch. There are no doubts, we will continue. I want to thank the judges who have worked in a good way, changing completely the first trial's incredible verdict, because they had a lot of pressures."

And Lazio president Claudio Lotito added: "I'm not satisfied at all. Lazio has not broken any rules. We are not allowed to play in the UEFA Cup despite having achieved qualification on the pitch and the points penalty incurred for next season, are things that are not in line with the truth. We will now assess with our lawyers on what to do next."

Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa was reasonably satisfied. "This verdict is much better than the first one. For a team who had asked for absolution, this isn't a win, but considering the first verdict, it's much better." Cantamessa refused to confirm whether or not the club would seek to absolve themselves entirely in the civil courts.

UEFA had extended its own deadline for national associations to submit the teams which will play European football this season - to allow Italy to sort out this saga. The FIGC have now confirmed Italy's representatives in the Champions League - Inter Milan, Roma, Chievo and Milan. The teams entering the UEFA Cup will be Palermo, Livorno and Parma.

The big losers from the appeal decisions are Lecce and Treviso. The bottom two clubs in Serie A last season were reinstated to Serie A along with 18th-placed Messina after the original verdicts. But now Fiorentina and Lazio are back in Serie A, Lecce and Treviso will be relegated after all. Messina stay up, taking Juventus' place in the top-flight, although they will now fear the Turin club's next appeal.

Here’s a full rundown of all the appeal verdicts handed out...

- Remain in Serie B.
- 17 points deducted, rather than 30.
- 3 matches will be played on a neutral ground.
- Fined 120,000 Euros.
- 2004-05 & 2005-06 titles stripped.
- Luciano Moggi banned from football for five years.
- Antonio Giraudo banned from football for five years.

- Reinstated to Serie A.
- 19 points deducted, rather than Serie B.
- 3 matches will be played on a neutral ground.
- Fined 120,000 Euros.
- 30 points deducted from 2005-06 season.
- Andrea Della Valle banned from football for three years.
- Diego Della Valle banned from football for three years.
- Sandro Mencucci banned from football for two years and six months.

- Reinstated to Serie A.
- 11 points deducted, rather than Serie B.
- 2 matches will be played on a neutral ground.
- Fined 120,000 Euros.
- 30 points deducted from 2005-06 season.
- Claudio Lotito banned from football for two years and six months.

AC Milan
- Stay in Serie A.
- 8 points deducted, rather than 15.
- 1 match will be played on a neutral ground.
- Entered into the Champions' League preliminary stage.
- 30 points deducted from 2005-06 season.
- Adriano Galliani banned from football for nine months.
- Leonardo Meani banned for from football for two years and six months.

FIGC officials
- Franco Carraro (ex-President) fined 80,000 Euros.
- Innocenzo Mazzini (ex-Vice-President) banned from football for five years.

Referees and officials
- Tullio Lanese banned from football for two years and six months.
- Pierluigi Pairetto banned from football for three years.
- Gennaro Mazzei banned from football for six months.
- Pietro Ingargiola was cautioned.
- Massimo De Santis banned from football for four years.
- Paolo Dondarini was cleared.
- Gianluca Paparesta banned from football for three months.
- Fabrizio Babini banned from football for six months.
- Claudio Puglisi banned from football for six months.

View the sentences in full (Italian) >>>

View the 2004-05 & 2005-06 table here >>>
View the revised 2005-06 table here (after appeals) >>>


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