Italian clubs demoted in match-fixing scandal

AN Italian sports tribunal announced guilty verdicts against four top Serie A clubs and various prominent soccer officials at the end of a trial into match-fixing on Friday.

Champions Juventus were stripped of their league championship wins in the last two seasons, relegated to the second-division Serie B and docked 30 points at the start of next season for seeking to influence the appointment of referees and linesmen for matches during the 2004-05 season.

Fiorentina and Lazio were relegated to Serie B and docked 12 points and seven points respectively at the start of next season.

AC Milan were allowed to remain in the top flight Serie A but were docked 15 points and barred from European competition next season.

Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said his club will appeal against the punishment. “This verdict is unheard of,” he said.

“We could have expected relegation to the second division but to be also handed a 30-point deduction is almost like relegation to the third division.

“We will appeal.”

Fiorentina and Lazio will also appeal their relegation and European ban.

Despite avoiding relegation Milan were unhappy with the verdict, which bars them from next season’s Champions League.

“We will appeal once the documents of the verdict will be available,” said a statement on the club’s website.

Former Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani was one of several individuals punished as a result of the investigation. He was banned from all football activities for a year. Lazio president Claudio Lotito was banned for three years and Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle received a four-year ban.

Former Juve general manager Luciano Moggi, who was at the centre of the investigation after his phone calls with a referee in charge of appointing officials during the 2004/05 season were tapped, was suspended for five years.

“I’m not saddened for myself but for the teams involved and for their fans,” said Moggi.

Referee Massimo De Santis was suspended from football for four and a half years and former Italian Football Federation president Franco Carraro was also handed a four-year suspension.

The rulings mean Inter Milan and Roma automatically qualify to the Champions League, with Chievo and Palermo going into the tournament qualifiers.

Livorno, Parma and Empoli will compete in the UEFA Cup.

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