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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Judge: Juve safe, Messina at risk

The judge in charge of the first Calciopoli trial assures Juventus cannot be punished again, but Messina could face heavy sanctions.

The Naples public prosecutors concluded their investigation yesterday and released a list of 48 people suspected of wrongdoing, a standard step before possible criminal charges are issued.

Once again the match-fixing allegations rotate around former Juve director general Luciano Moggi, accused of providing Swiss SIM cards to referees and designators to contact them without being traced.

However, the Bianconeri seem to be safe from further punishment after their summer demotion to Serie B.

"What do Juventus risk? Our decision did not examine individual incidents, as we had to rule on a ‘climate’ created to favour Juventus," explained Piero Sandulli, the judge in charge of the Federal Court that sent the club to Serie B with a 17-point penalty – later reduced to nine on appeal.

"If these new games under investigation are part of that ‘climate’, I doubt that Juventus can risk anything else in disciplinary terms. It would be a sporting matter that had already been sentenced."

The same cannot be said of Messina, who play a role in the Naples investigation and were in fact saved from relegation by Calciopoli, as Juve’s demotion freed up a space in the top flight.

"Messina do run a risk in this case," confirmed Sandulli to the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport.’ “We were told nothing about their role from the public prosecutors in the CAF or the Federal Court. Messina’s is a new case there was only the briefest mention of, so I don’t think it was analysed by the sporting justice system."

Sandulli also gave his view on the new element in the Moggi scandal – the Swiss SIM cards used by referees.

"A reserved SIM card in itself is not illegal, even if it is very strange. It becomes sporting fraud if that card is used to make phone calls in order to fix a match or anything else. In any case, it is odd. I doubt these mobile phones were ‘reserved’ to call their wives and say they were coming home for dinner…"

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