Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina relegated from Italy's Serie A
Friday, July 14, 2006
Italian soccer giants Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina have all been relegated from Serie A today as the result of the massive Italian football match-fixing scandal, while AC Milan have avoided relegation.
The news came after revelations that Juventus general manager, Luciano Moggi, had telephone conversations with several important figures in Italian football, including Marcello Lippi, the head coach of the Italian national team, during the 2004-05 season which revealed illegal match-fixing, gambling and falsifying financial accounts. The teams were accused of rigging matches by selecting referees, while players, including Italy's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, have also been charged of illegally gambling on matches.
The results were published at around 20:00 local time on July 14, 2006 and shown live on Italian television. The FIGC (Italian Football Federation) had originally called for all four clubs involved, AC Milan, Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina to be thrown out of Serie A, with Juventus demoted two divisions into Serie C1.
Juventus suffered the biggest punishment. They were demoted into Italy's second division, Serie B and will start the 2006-07 season with a thirty-point deduction. They were also stripped of their league titles, or "Scudettos", they had won in 2004-05 and 2005-06. President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli stated: "This verdict is unheard of. 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."
Fiorentina have also been relegated to Serie B, and will have twelve-point deduction. Lazio will join Juventus and Fiorentina in Serie B next season and will have a seven-point deduction.
AC Milan have avoided relegation but will start next season with minus fifteen points. They have also had 44 points deducted from their total in the 2005-06 season to put them out of the Champions League and UEFA Cup qualification places.
Several officials, but no players, from each club has also been suspended from football, including now ex-general manager Luciano Moggi and ex-chief executive Antonio Giraudo, both of Juventus, who have been banned for five years. The other three clubs have also had board members suspended for between one and four years.
All four sides have been barred from playing in European competitions next season and will have up to three days to appeal. UEFA have given the FIGC a deadline of 25 July to finalise their European qualifying teams
The results of the match-fixing trial could have huge consequences on football in the whole of Europe, let alone Italy. Thirteen of Italy's squad which had won the World Cup less than a week before play their club football for one of the accused teams and the rulings could spark a massive sell-out. 12 Juventus players went to the World Cup, including five for Italy. AC Milan also had thirteen players at the World Cup.
The suspensions mean that a total rehaul of Italy's European qualifiers has been made. Internazionale and Roma will qualify for the Champions League Group Stages, with Palermo and Chievo going into the Third Qualifying Round. Livorno, Empoli and Parma will all qualify for the UEFA Cup first round.
- "Italian Teams Demoted Over Match-Fixing" — , July 14, 2006
- "FIFA World Cup statistics- Most represented clubs" — , July 14, 2006
- "Italian trio relegated to Serie B" — , July 14, 2006
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