Judgement day looms for match-fixing Serie A clubs

Rome, October 9:

Four Serie A clubs found guilty of match-fixing will find out this week if their final appeals against their punishments have been successful. Juventus were relegated to Serie B and made to start on minus 17 points for their part in rigging matches in the 2004-05 season, while AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio all kept their Serie A status but were deducted points.

AC Milan started on minus eight points, Fiorentina on minus 19 and Lazio on minus 11. All of the four guilty clubs qualified for European competition, but only AC Milan were allowed to participate.

The four clubs have already seen their original sentences reduced in earlier appeals and are now seeking further cuts in the Italian Olympic Committee’s Court of Arbitration — the highest authority within Italy’s sporting legal system.

Juventus, AC Milan and Lazio will hear their fates on Wednesday and Fiorentina will find out on Thursday. According to Italian media reports all the clubs are likely to see their sentences reduced and rival teams are already up in arms.

Juventus coach Didier Deschamps insisted his club — who were also stripped of the league titles they won in 2004-05 and 2005-06 — deserve a lighter sentence.

The scandal began in May after newspapers published transcripts of intercepted telephone conversations between the then Juventus general manager, Luciano Moggi, telling the head of Italy’s referees association which officials to appoint to specific Juventus games.

Moggi was banned from being involved in sport for five years for using his considerable power and influence at Italy’s most successful club to assert control of the pool of referees and high-ranking FIGC officials.