Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Milan & Fiorentina's appeals fail

The CONI conciliation meeting between the FIGC and Milan failed on Tuesday, as the club attempts to see their point deduction for this season reduced. Hours after Milan’s rejection, Fiorentina also failed in their conciliation and both clubs will now go to the CONI arbitration, just as Lazio decided to do last week.

The Rossoneri were handed an eight-point penalty for the new Serie A campaign for their involvement in the match-fixing scandal. The Viola were handed a 19-point deficit for their involvement.

“The club and the FIGC were not able to conciliate, but the parties have agreed on the possibility of trying arbitration,” read an official Milan statement.

Leandro Cantamessa, one of Milan’s lawyers, was hoping in a better outcome although he was not totally disappointed. “We would have preferred to conciliate today, but we are moderately satisfied of the fact that the home ban was suspended,” said Cantamessa. “We will continue our fight within arbitration. These are the rules of the game and Milan play by the rules. We hope the point deduction will be reduced, but if that were not the case we will accept the decision.”

Cantamessa has therefore ruled out the possibility that his club could turn to the civil justice system and appeal to the Lazio Tar.

“Conciliation failed, the parties remain on two different positions,” said Enrico Ingrilli, the lawyer in charge of the Fiorentina hearing.

“A mediation took place, the club and the FIGC agreed to go to arbitration and to suspend the additional penalties. If both parties will be satisfied there will be no need to go further, but at the time being no possibility can be excluded,” added Ingrilli. “The FIGC is determined to confirm the points deduction.”

Ingrilli did not rule out the possibility that Fiorentina may appeal to the civil justice system, although this option seems unlikely. “Everyone has the right to appeal to TAR, but I believe Fiorentina have proved their will to keep this controversy within the sporting justice system and this is positive,” concluded the lawyer.

In the meanwhile, the additional punishments handed to Milan, a one-match home ban and the €100,000 fine, and to Fiorentina, a three-match home ban and a €100,000 fine, were suspended until the next hearing.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Juve-FIGC to call truce?

Juventus have confirmed that they are in negotiations with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to halt their legal battle, which could see them remain in Serie B without a points penalty.

“We are in talks with the FIGC,” announced Bianconeri President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli this evening. “We are ready to negotiate with the CONI Olympic Committee.”

The club had sparked an increasingly vicious legal battle in a bid to have their Serie A status restored following the match-fixing scandal. A conciliation meeting failed and they lodged an appeal to the TAR tribunal, asking for £92m in damages if they were forced to remain in Serie B. The FIGC reacted by threatening their own court case and further sanctions against the Turin giants, but new reports suggest there is a new strategy in place.

It’s believed that Juventus were using the TAR option in order to force the Federation’s hand and step down from their original strict view of the issue. The Bianconeri’s lawyer had stated during the match-fixing trial that they’d accept Serie B without a handicap, so while Juve may publicly claim they will not stop until their top flight status is restored, their real aim is to have the 17-point penalty wiped out or at least drastically reduced. This figure is already a ‘discount’ on the original verdict of a 30-point handicap.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Reggina lose appeal; Arezzo not happy

Reggina’s 15-point deduction has been confirmed on appeal in the match-fixing trial, but Arezzo’s nine-point penalty was reduced to six.

The clubs went to the Federal Court after the original trial at the CAF inflicted a 15-point sanction on the Amaranto and a nine-point penalty on the Serie B side, but both retained their Divisional status.

It was widely reported that the penalties for purported match-fixing and pressure on referees would be slashed on appeal, but that turned out not to be the case. The Stadio Granillo side will still kick off the new season from –15 points, making it an uphill struggle to avoid relegation. Reggina President Lillo Foti (pictured) was suspended for two years and six months and the appeal court also confirmed that decision. Arezzo’s nine-point penalty for the 2006-07 campaign has been cut to just six. Both clubs have the option of continuing their legal challenges in a conciliation meeting with the FIGC. However, the sanctions on the other individuals in the controversial match against Salernitana – ex-member of the Referees’ Association Gennaro Mazzei, linesman Stefano Titomanlio and former Milan refereeing liaison Leonardo Meani – were upheld. The punishments are a three-year suspension for the first two names and a three-month ban for the Rossoneri official.

Both clubs have announced plans for further legal challenges. “Reggina Calcio S.p.A and its President [Lillo Foti] consider the decision unjust and unbalanced. It is damaging to our sporting rights, the club, the city and its fans,” read an official statement. “We will defend our rights in all the competent courts necessary, but continue to act in silence to protect the club’s image.” The next legal step is a conciliation meeting with CONI and the FIGC in a bid to work out a plea bargain, reducing that 15-point penalty.

Meanwhile, Arezzo were not satisfied with their outcome. “The sentence remains inadequate for the situation,” insisted director Giovanni Cappietti, who announced they would seek a conciliation debate.

The sentences handed out means four clubs will begin the new Serie A season with a handicap: Fiorentina (-19), Reggina (-15), Lazio (-11) and Milan (-8). Juventus (-17) and Arezzo (-6) will start the Serie B campaign from below zero.

View FIGC Statement (Italian) >>>

Juve claim FIGC damages

Juventus are claiming massive damages from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) over their demotion to Serie B.

The request is included in the appeal presented to the TAR Lazio civil court and amounts up to £92m, representing the economic loss allegedly suffered by the club because of its relegation. The Turin outfit officially presented their appeal to the Lazio tribunal on Thursday which mainly consisted of two parts. Juve asked for their immediate reinstatement to Serie A, eventually with the 17-point deduction which was handed out by the sporting justice system. The Bianconeri also stated that they suffered major economic losses because of the scandal and believe they should be compensated by the FIGC who they deem responsible for the situation. Juve quantified the damage of £50m if they were to play in this season’s Serie A and £92m if the Second Division were instead to be confirmed.

The main motivation of the appeal was the belief that the sanctions were unjustified and unfair when compared with those given to the other guilty clubs, as confirmed by Juventus chief Giovanni Cobolli Gigli. The FIGC and CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) are now ready to reply with their claim for damages, considering the Bianconeri responsible for undermining the credibility of the Italian Championship, as well as sport in general. An extra hearing may be scheduled by the TAR Lazio on August 31, to specifically discuss Juve’s case.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Juve ignore FIFA threat and appeal

Juventus have ignored threats of more sanctions by appealing to a civil court against their demotion for their part in the match-fixing scandal. After losing an appeal to Italy's Olympic Committee (CONI) Juve have taken their case to the TAR Lazio tribunal.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) warned of further punishments if the scandal-hit club persist with their appeal. The game's governing body FIFA has also warned Italy could be thrown out of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign if Juve continue their fight. They confirmed on Wednesday that the situation would be “monitored carefully” and further decisions might be taken, should the circumstances require them.

Juve's persistence in continuing their fight has already thrown the Italian domestic season into turmoil. Fixture lists for the forthcoming season are due to be published on 30 August, and the start of the season has already been put back to 9/10 September. Both the FIGC and Lega Calcio (Football League) have guaranteed that there will be no further delays. If Juve's appeal is successful the season could be delayed by a further two weeks.

The Lazio Regional Administrative Court has special powers to rule in sporting cases and will hear the case on 6 September.

FIFA say Juve's decision to involve civil law is against its rules and has threatened to suspend the FIGC.

Read Juventus Statement (Italian) >>>

FIFA warning; Lazio's appeal fails

FIFA said Italy could be thrown out of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2008 if Juventus continue to fight relegation to Serie B for match-fixing.

Juve were relegated and docked 17 points for trying to exert influence over referees and are now trying to take their appeal to a civil court. That would be against FIFA's rules and could lead to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) being suspended.

The FIGC has already told Juventus it would impose sanctions if they go to a civil court. In a letter the FIGC said it would not "hesitate to launch the sanction process" if Juve press ahead with their plan to lodge an appeal with the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR). The FIGC also said Juve had not yet formally lodged their appeal.

Juve were relegated for their role in the match-fixing scandal that rocked Italy and were initially docked 30 points, which was reduced to 17 on appeal. Lazio, Fiorentina, AC Milan, and recently Reggina, have been implicated and all will start next season with point deductions. But Juve are the only Serie A team to have been relegated.

The club announced on Monday it would take its appeal against the FIGC's decision to the TAR. The FIGC reported on their website that they have sent a letter to FIFA explaining their objections to Juve's decision to appeal to the TAR.

The club responded with a statement from their lawyer, Riccardo Montanaro. “We are not taking any illegal steps. If we go to the TAR, it is because the Italian law allows it.”

Meanwhile, Lazio's appeal against their match-fixing penalty has failed. They were docked 11 points for the new season and were kicked out of European competition and fined 100,000 euros having originally qualified for the UEFA Cup from last season's league finish.

Lazio, who had been demanding a reduction in the penalty, will now take their appeal before a CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) arbitration. “We will ask for the elimination of all the sanctions put on this club for the current season,” explained lawyer Ugo Longo. “There are all the elements needed for Lazio to start a campaign without a handicap or suspension.”

CONI have also confirmed that there will not be another delay to the start of the season. The big kick off has already been put back two weeks because of the match-fixing scandal, but chief Gianni Petrucci insists Juventus’ decision to fight on in the civil courts will not cause another hold-up. “Postponement is not an option, the new season will start on September 9 as scheduled,” said Petrucci. “We respect the TAR’s decisions, but I admit there are things that I fear more than an eventual delay in next season’s Serie A start.”

FIGC Statement (Italian) >>>

Ex-Juve pair fail in appeal

The Tar Lazio civil court has rejected the appeals of Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo (pictured) against their five-year bans from the sport.

The former Juventus directors were suspended from footballing activity in the aftermath of the match-fixing probe which considered them as the main figures in the investigation.The duo attempted to overturn the sporting justice system’s sentences but with no success.

Tar Lazio has not yet released the motivations that led to the rejection, but it may be because the duo’s position is still pending within sporting jurisdiction. The CONI Conciliation Court has yet to express their opinion on the petition filed by the pair seeing as their hearings are scheduled for September 5 and 7. “The Juventus representatives had the full and concrete intention of falsifying the table by conditioning referees,” stated CAF appeal court President Pietro Santulli after the last verdict was handed out last month. “Moggi was responsible for serious episodes of sporting fraud and seeing that his illicit design was eventually successful, he damaged the public’s faith in the fairness of sporting competition.” Moggi and Giraudo have denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Lega Calcio chief Antonio Matarrese has confirmed that the 2006-07 season will start on September 9 despite Juventus’ appeal to the civil courts. “The new season is scheduled to start on the weekend of September 9 and 10 and that is what we can confirm,” said Matarrese. “I can not make any forecast and I don’t know what will happen, but at this moment in time I can guarantee that the Serie A and Serie B fixtures for the new season remain set to be drawn up in Rome on August 30. I understand that Juventus are living a very dramatic moment in their history and I respect them, but we also have to respect all the other teams.”

Juventus decided to appeal to the TAR Lazio in an attempt to regain their top-flight status on Monday, after the conciliation meeting with the Italian Football Federation on Friday failed to reduce their punishments.The Bianconeri will now be called to appear in front of the TAR on September 6 which has cast doubt on the start of the campaign. Should the Italian giants be reinstated to Serie A, the court could potentially block the new season’s kick off. TAR President Pasquale De Lise stated that the option of an extra hearing in August is being considered to specifically discuss Juve’s case and to avoid any further delays. “We cannot exclude that there will be a special hearing in August, but it’s too early now to set a date,” said De Lise. “There is a hearing scheduled for August 22 and we now have to see if we can add another one, respecting all the claimants and the correct procedures.”

Monday, August 21, 2006

Juve launch appeal at the civil court

Juventus have launched another appeal in an attempt to overturn their demotion to Serie B. The club have lodged an appeal with the TAR Lazio civil court, after their original complaint was rejected by the Italian Olympic Committee's arbitration court (CONI) on Friday.

The club were originally docked 30 points, which has since been reduced to 17, and stripped of their last two titles. The outfit have failed to digest that punishment and have opted for the civil courts route for what they believe is a disproportionate sanction given that other indicted clubs such as Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina escaped relegation.

“The verdict was unfair and too severe, even more when considering that Juventus were the only club to take their responsibilities, basically reorganising their entire organisation,” read a statement.

Juventus removed guilty parties Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo from the club immediately after the scandal broke and were hoping this would earn them favour.

“Relegation will, above all, gravely damage the identity of Juventus," the note continued. “In over a century of existence, Juve have contributed to writing the history of Italian football with a tradition of excellence which is alive as demonstrated by the nine Juventus players who took part in the recent World Cup Final.”

President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli had already stressed the fact that his club would continue in their chase for Serie A readmission. “We have to safeguard the honour of Juventus and the motivations of the Federal Court verdict convinced us that we have to fight for this team” he stated.

The Bianconeri will now be called to appear in front of the TAR on September 6 which does raise doubts over the start of the season.

Fixture lists for the forthcoming season are set to be published on 30 August, with the start of the season already put back to 9/10 September. Should they successfully win back their place in the top flight then the court could potentially block the start of the season. However, there are a number of risks which come with the path that the Italian giants have now chosen to take. The FIGC could even increase Juventus’ points penalty if they fail to overrule the initial judgement.

Read the Juventus statement here >>>

Friday, August 18, 2006

Juve's appeal fails

Juventus have failed in their latest attempt to overturn their punishment in the Italian match-fixing scandal.

Juve were relegated for their role in the match-fixing scandal that rocked Italy and were docked 30 points, which has since been reduced to 17. The club's appeal was held at the Italian Olympic Committee's arbitration court (CONI) at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, but Italy's Football Federation (FIGC) refused to back down. Juve, who were stripped of their last two titles, said it would discuss what, if any action, in a board meeting on Monday.

CONI brought together the clubs' directors and the FIGC to seek an agreement regarding the appeal, but a Juve statement said the meeting had "not resulted in any conciliation". "We will examine all of our options calmly, convinced as we are, in our search for a more fair punishment," said chairman Cobolli Gigli. He added they could potentially take the case outside the sports justice system to a civil court (TAR Tribunal) or even to the European Court of Justice.

The other three clubs embroiled in the scandal - Fiorentina, Lazio and Milan and their officials are also taking their cases to CONI in the coming few days.

Read the Juventus statement here >>>

Thursday, August 17, 2006

VERDICTS: Points deducted off Reggina and Arezzo

Reggina have avoided demotion to Serie B but will start next season with a 15-point deduction for their role in the match-fixing scandal. President Pasquale "Lillo" Foti (pictured) has also been banned for two-and-a-half years and fined £20,000, while the club must also pay a £68,000 fine. Prosecutors had requested the Southern club to be demoted to the Second Division.

Meanwhile, Serie B club Arezzo avoided demotion to Serie C but will start next season with a nine-point deduction.

Referees Paolo Dondarini and Pieri have been cleared of wrongdoing, but linesman Stefano Titomanlio and his designator Gennaro Mazzei were slapped with three year bans. Leonardo Meani, a former AC Milan employee, was handed a three month stop and his former club were fined £7,000.

Here's a rundown off all the verdicts handed out...

- Remain in Serie A.
- 15 points deducted.
- Fined £68,000.
- Pasquale Foti banned from football for 2.5 years and fined £20,000.

- Remain in Serie B
- 9 points deducted.

AC Milan
- Fined £7,000.
- Leonardo Meani banned from football for 3 months.

Referees' Association Officials
- Gennaro Mazzei banned from football for 3 years.

- Stefano Titomanlio banned from football for 3 years.

News Round-up: August 11-16th

11/08/2006: Despite claiming they wouldn’t appeal the eight-point deduction, AC Milan have confirmed they will enter the CONI Conciliation. "Our objective is to shave off as many points as possible from that sentence,” explained lawyer Leandro Cantamessa. “Unfortunately, due to the time frame, there’s nothing we can do about being forced into the Champions League preliminary round. This is our final appeal, though, so we won’t be going to the TAR tribunal.” The Rossoneri had originally been frozen out of Europe altogether and ordered to start the 2006-07 campaign with a 15-point penalty, but the appeal allowed them into the Champions League via the back door – they currently lead 1-0 over Red Star Belgrade ahead of the August 23 second leg – and cut the handicap to eight points. Milan had hinted there would be no further legal action, but they are also now included in the CONI Conciliation and Arbitration Committee hearings on August 29.

13/08/2006: The Federal Prosecutor has asked for Reggina to be demoted into Serie B and penalised 15 points for their part in the match-fixing scandal. After hearing evidence from the club, FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi put forward his requests to the judges. Reggina are accused of sporting fraud for three games in the 2004-05 season played against Atalanta, Sampdoria and Palermo. “The FIGC believes it’s clear that Reggina tried to gain an improved position in the table by altering the balance between the two teams,” explained Palazzi. “It’s a system we think is proven beyond doubt, as there was contact with the referee before the individual matches.” Wiretapped phone conversations between President Lillo Foti and refereeing designator Paolo Bergamo provide the evidence for an alleged attempt to earn favours for the Southern club. If found guilty, they risk demotion to Serie B and a 15-point handicap for the new campaign. President Foti’s position was met with a request for a five-year ban with further action to possibly bar him from football altogether.

14/08/2006: Federal Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has asked for Arezzo to be demoted into Serie C with a three-point deduction, for their alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal. Day two of the trial following the second wave of the match-fixing investigations saw Palazzi listen to the Tuscan club’s defence and then put forward his requests to the judges. Arezzo are under investigation with regard to their match with Salernitana in the 2004-05 Serie B season. A telephone conversation between former FIGC official Gennaro Mazzei and linesman Stefano Titomanlio mentioned “holding back” Salernitana, thus causing Arezzo’s indictment. Palazzi believes that the club's behaviour was evidently intended to favour Arezzo, although no evidence was found that there were any club officials directly involved. Palazzi asked for a five-year ban for both Mazzei and Titomanlio, judging their conduct even more serious in consideration of the categories they represented. A three-month ban was also requested for former Milan referees’ liaison Leonardo Meani, accused of failing to report an alleged irregularity to the authorities. As a result, the Rossoneri risk a 10,000 Euro fine.

16/08/2006: Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio, Milan and their officials will lodge their appeals to the CONI Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to have their punishments reduced. If the clubs and officials are not satisfied with CONI, the highest degree in sporting justice, they may decide to appeal to the civil courts, namely the Lazio TAR Tribunal. Here are the dates of the appointments with CONI...

Aug 18 (1500): Juventus. Messina, Lecce and Brescia have formally been admitted to Juve’s meeting as third parties in the scandal, as they seek a return to Serie A.
Aug 23 (1100): Lazio
Aug 29 (1100): AC Milan
Aug 29 (1230): Fiorentina
Aug 29 (1500): Treviso will be seeking a return to Serie A, as they were originally placed back in the top flight following the first sentences.
Sep 05 (0930): Claudio Lotito (Lazio President)
Sep 05 (1130): Adriano Galliani (Milan vice-President)
Sep 05 (1330): Sandro Mencucci (Fiorentina Official)
Sep 05 (1500): Antonio Giraudo (Former Juventus Chief Executive)
Sep 06 (1100): Massimo De Santis (Referee)
Sep 06 (1300): Tullio Lanese (Former President of Referee's Association)
Sep 07 (1100): Innocenzo Mazzini (Former FIGC vice-President)
Sep 07 (1200): Luciano Moggi (Former Juventus General Manager)
Sep 13 (1100): Andrea & Diego Della Valle (Fiorentina Owners)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Milan indictment

AC Milan’s match-fixing trial isn’t over yet, as the club was indicted as part of the second wave of investigations.

On Monday, Reggina were indicted for sporting fraud after investigation into six of their games in the 2004-05 season. President Lillo Foti, former refereeing designator Paolo Bergamo and referees Pieri and Paolo Dondarini were also indicted by FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi.

The area of the inquiry that relates to Milan, however, is that concerning Arezzo’s Serie B encounter with Salernitana that same season and a telephone conversation in which a linesman mentioned “holding back” Salernitana as they were attacking. Arezzo and three unnamed members of the club have been indicted.

Tonight it emerged that Milan were also on Palazzi’s list put forward to the sporting tribunal due to former referees’ liaison for the club Leonardo Meani (pictured).

Meani was the man responsible for wiretapped telephone calls that saw Milan stripped of their automatic Champions League qualifying place, the chance to win the 2005-06 Scudetto and ordered to begin the next season with an eight-point handicap.

“It is with immense amazement that AC Milan discovered they had been indicted for indirect responsibility for an alleged irregularity by Leonardo Meani, relating to an event that supposedly took place around Arezzo-Salernitana in 2004-05,” read an official statement from the club. “This was a Serie B match and the personal behaviour of Meani could not in any way be considered official Milan business, as the Federal Court confirmed in its appeal hearing.”

The indictment is for failing to report an alleged irregularity to the authorities. It has also been confirmed that Reggina's case will be heard on August 13 and Arezzo's on the following day.

Reggina face match-fixing trial

Reggina have become the fifth club ordered to stand trial over allegations of sporting fraud. The Italian Football Federation's (FIGC) prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has taken the step after consulting a report compiled by chief investigator Francesco Saverio Borelli and his team.

The move comes after reports of telephone conversations of Reggina president, Lillo Foti (pictured), were tapped. Palazzi will argue that the southern minnows violated article one and article six of the game’s sporting rules during the 2004-05 campaign. It’s understood that the Reggina probe centred around six games which were against Brescia [lost 1-3], Cagliari [won 3-2], Palermo [won 1-0], Udinese [won 2-0], Sampdoria [lost 3-2] and Palermo [drew 1-1]. Foti, along with former refereeing designator Paolo Bergamo and referees Pieri and Paolo Dondarini were also charged.

Foti insists there are no valid reasons which led to indict his club for sporting fraud. He denied any wrongdoing and maintains that his club always followed the rules. “The indictment is exaggerated, I think there is malice in it. I’m not basing my thoughts on suspicions, but on the facts and the truth. The results of the 2004-05 season are there for everybody to see, the indictment is a severe punishment. I feel the prosecutor’s decision was malicious towards my club and myself. Reggina must now present themselves in front of the Federal Appeal Court on August 13 and will face a trial we do not deserve. The charge also relates to matches that Reggina lost and that doesn’t make much sense. We have always followed the rules and behaved correctly, but no respect has been shown towards us.”

Reggina will be informed of their proposed sentence next week, if found guilty, Palazzi will reveal his punishment requests for the southern minnows who now risk demotion to Serie B.

Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio have already been punished for their part in the scandal. Juve were stripped of the Serie A title won for the past two seasons, demoted to Serie B and docked points for their role in the scandal. Fiorentina and Lazio were originally relegated, only to be reinstated to the top flight upon appeal, while Milan had points deducted.

View the document in full (Italian) >>>

Calciopoli appeals slammed

The chief investigator in the match-fixing trial has criticised the discounts afforded to Juventus and the other clubs in appeal as “bad for football.”

Francesco Saverio Borrelli (pictured) ran the investigation into the match-fixing scandal and was pleased with the original verdicts, which saw Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina relegated to Serie B and Milan ordered to begin the 2006-07 campaign with a 15-point penalty. However, on appeal the CAF left only the Bianconeri in the Second Division with a 17-point handicap rather than the original 30, while the other penalties were also slashed.

“We had noticed there was a strange climate around football with tacit agreements that made compromises likely,” revealed Borrelli in newspaper ‘La Repubblica’. “You could certainly say this was a ‘generous’ verdict and a decision of this kind is not good for football, let alone our international reputation. I think that to move forward we should’ve been harsher on these sides rather than reduce the sentences.”

The controversy arose after the CAF released its reasons for cutting the punishments, as President Piero Sandulli suggested the investigative team made a mistake in trying to penalise ‘guilt by association’ on a par with those instigating illegal manoeuvres.

“I think that Sandulli’s lecture was out of place and he could’ve avoided that comment. Nobody has ever said the sporting justice system includes guilt by association. We pointed out that it was wrong to talk of a Mafia-like organisation, but rather view it as a wide-ranging negative sensibility. Within the football world, people could count on this attitude to achieve illegal ends. It was a corrupt environment.”

Moggi ‘ruled Calcio with iron fist’

The CAF has given its reasons for reducing the penalties in the match-fixing scandal, stating that Luciano Moggi ‘forced’ Lazio, Fiorentina and Milan to seek aid. The Federal Court of Appeal slashed the original punishment meted out in the inquest, returning Lazio and Fiorentina to Serie A following their demotion and cutting the points deductions given to Milan and Juventus.

“Moggi was responsible for serious episodes of sporting fraud, both over time – in particular the 2004-05 season – and his behaviour which was aimed at creating a structure that would alter the competition through conditioning of refereeing decisions,” explained President Pietro Santulli (pictured) in the paperwork released this evening. “As his illicit design was eventually successful, he damaged the public’s faith in the fairness of sporting competition. To metaphorically speaking survive in Serie A, it was necessary to bow down to Moggi's will.”

Juventus were the only club to remain in Serie B after the appeal to the CAF and Santulli revealed why the Turin giants were punished so much more than the other sides involved. “The behaviour of Moggi and Antonio Giraudo cannot be compared to the other directors (Fiorentina’s Andrea Della Valle and Sandro Mencucci, ndr), whose actions had nowhere near the same causal effect. The Juventus representatives had the full and concrete intention of falsifying the table by conditioning referees, whose decisions were influenced by Moggi and Giraudo.”

Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio had claimed that they were merely ‘reacting’ to the Moggi system in place, a theory that was in part accepted by the CAF.

In the 117-page report, it was also explained why Lazio’s demotion to Serie B was revoked, pointing out that “no referees were named in the inquiry or punished for their part in the three games that President Claudio Lotito spoke about with refereeing designator Paolo Bergamo. Therefore it is illogical to consider this a sporting fraud.”

Fiorentina have returned to Serie A, albeit with a 19-point penalty to kick off the 2006-07 campaign, because there was “no conclusive evidence” of direct responsibility for match-fixing, only indirect liability. The calls of complaint also came straight after a match against Messina in which the Viola felt themselves heavily penalised by the referee.

Milan were the least penalised in the Calciopoli trial due to the actions of refereeing liaison Leonardo Meani. “He may well be a low-ranking official in the club, but he did clearly overstep his boundaries in a bid to favour his side.”

“The Juventus directors were certainly highly poisonous in their systematic and organised stability. This means their position in this trial is incomparable to the others.”

Nonetheless, the Bianconeri’s original 30-point penalty in Serie B for the 2006-07 season was reduced to 17 on appeal, giving them a better chance of gaining promotion within the year. “It seems right to view the original penalty with the important and prestigious sporting history of this club, the fruits of which were also enjoyed by the national team,” continued the CAF’s report. “The resignation and removal of the directors responsible for the punishment should also be a factor in favour of the side.”

Juventus are not content with the verdict and have lodged an appeal to the CONI’s Court of Conciliation. Their lawyers will be heard on August 18, while Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani and Juve’s Antonio Giraudo’s hearings are on September 5. Moggi and former FIGC vice-President Innocenzo Mazzini are to discuss their positions on September 7.

View the full report (Italian) >>>

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Milan allowed to play in Champions' League

UEFA have confirmed that AC Milan have been allowed to take part in this season’s Champions League. European football’s governing body were considering expelling the club from the competition on ethical grounds after they were punished as part of the match-fixing scandal.

However, after an emergency meeting, UEFA have given the Italian giants the green light to enter the competition. Milan were relegated to third in last season’s final Serie A standings and handed an eight-point penalty for the 2006-07 campaign. The Rossoneri will now play Crvena Zvezda, previously Red Star Belgrade, in the third qualifying round next week.

Nevertheless, UEFA have stated that they were 'deeply concerned' with the Italian scandal and admitted that they were forced to include them in the competition. "The UEFA Emergency Panel, being competent to decide on this matter, came to the conclusion that it had no choice but to admit Milan for the UEFA club competitions 2006-07 for formal reasons because of an insufficient legal basis in the regulations which would allow not admitting Milan under the specific circumstances," it stated.

"The Emergency Panel made a clear statement to the club that this admission is far from being given with the utmost conviction.Milan takes advantage of the fact that UEFA lacks legal grounds to refuse the club's admission. In this respect, Milan is herewith informed that the necessary adaptations will be made to the regulations concerned. The UEFA Emergency Panel is deeply concerned that Milan has created the impression of being involved in the improper influencing of the regular course of matches in the Italian football championship. From the statement of Milan, the Panel concluded that the club has obviously not yet properly perceived the troubles it is in and the damage it already caused to European football. UEFA and the club's opponents will observe with the utmost attention the future attitude of Milan around UEFA club competition fixtures. UEFA will not hesitate to intervene severely, should Milan be involved in any activities aiming to arrange improperly the outcome of a match."

Serie A kick-off delayed

The Lega Calcio (Italian Football League) have confirmed that the new Serie A season will now kick off on September 10. The fresh campaign was originally scheduled to start on August 27, but that date has been deemed as unrealistic given another summer of controversy in Italian football.

Due to the various appeals with regard to the match-fixing scandal and the threat of another tribunal hearing involving more clubs, the new season’s start date has been delayed by two weeks. Serie A will start on September 10 and come to a conclusion on May 27, 2007. The Serie B campaign will also begin on the same weekend, but ending on June 10.

Throughout the season there will be four midweek round of fixtures in the First Division and four Sunday breaks in the schedule as a result of international commitments and the Christmas/New Year break.

The Coppa Italia will kick-off on August 19, with the two legged Finals set for April 18 and May 9, 2007. The Italian Super Cup Final, which will officialy open the new season, between newly crowned Italian champions Inter Milan and Roma, last season’s Coppa Italia runners-up, will be played on Saturday August 26.

The Commissioner of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Guido Rossi had guaranteed there would be no delay, but the appeals of the teams involved in the match-mixing scandal and the evolving second phase inquiries will take up most of August.

On Sunday the trio of Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio presented their appeals to the CONI Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, the highest degree in sporting justice, hoping to overturn the verdicts handed down on July 25. CONI’s decisions should arrive within August 10 and if the clubs and officials involved are still not satisfied they may decide to appeal to the civil courts, namely TAR.

The commission who was assigned the second phase of the investigation ended its inquiry on Thursday afternoon and chief Francesco Saverio Borrelli submitted his report on Monday. FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi may call for new indictments for Reggina and possibly Arezzo, Messina, Siena and Lecce before the end of the week, while the first verdicts are expected for mid-month.

Reggina are the ones risking the most and are being investigated with regards to six matches played in the 2004-05 season. The clubs involved have pleaded their innocence and denied any wrongdoing, but it will be very difficult to wrap up all the appeals before the end of August.

View the Lega Calcio document (Italian) >>>