Juve, Fiorentina, Lazio relegated

Rome, July 15:

An Italian sports tribunal demoted Juventus to the second division for match-fixing and stripped it of its last two Serie A titles, one of several sanctions aimed at cleaning up the scandal-marred game. Lazio and Fiorentina also were demoted to the Serie B, while AC Milan was spared demotion but given a 15-point penalty and will not play in any European competition this season.

The toughest penalties meted out to individuals were against former Juventus GM Luciano Moggi and former Juventus chief executive Antonio Giraudo, who received the five-year ban. The pair were accused of creating a network of contacts with Italian soccer federation (FIGC) officials to influence refereeing assignments and get players yellow-carded — allegations that are at the heart of the scandal.

Of the 26 officials or referees accused, 19 received punishment ranging from five-year ban to a warning; five were acquitted; and two were banned for life. The sentences can be appealed within five days to a higher sports court. Besides demotion, Juventus was penalised 30 points, making their return to the Serie A even more difficult and risking sponsorship and broadcast rights. Fiorentina was penalised 12 points and Lazio seven.