Saturday, July 08, 2006

Italian minister hints at amnesty

Italy's justice minister suggested an amnesty may be suitable for clubs named in an alleged match-fixing scandal so as not to punish players from the squad who have reached Sunday's World Cup final against France.

"The government cannot get involved in this issue," Justice Minister Clemente Mastella told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Friday. "But I do think the majority of fans want an amnesty. As a fan, let me say this: is it fair that (Fabio) Cannavaro and (Alessandro) Del Piero and so many others should play in the third division after everything they have done?".

Cannavaro and Del Piero are two of several Azzurri players on the books of Juventus. The Serie A champions face possible relegation to the third division for what a prosecutor says was the club's role in the scandal.

The club denies wrong-doing but one of their lawyers has suggested relegation to the second division might be apt punishment if Juve are found guilty by a sports tribunal.

There have been several calls for an amnesty for Juventus and the other three clubs caught up in the scandal, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina, given the efforts of Italy's players at the World Cup in Germany.

But earlier this week Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri said the proposal was "idiocy".


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