Sun, Oct 29, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Italian sports court cuts match-fixing penalty for Juve

AFP , ROME

Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina had their match-fixing penalties cut on Friday by the Arbitration Court of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

But AC Milan failed in their bid to have their eight-point penalty from the start of the season reduced.

All four sides had already seen their original penalties greatly reduced and Lazio will be breathing the biggest sigh of relief having had theirs slashed from 11 points to just three -- originally they had been relegated to Serie B.

Juventus, relegated to Serie B and originally docked 30 points, saw their penalty cut from 17 to nine points while Fiorentina's Serie A deficit was slightly reduced from 19 to 15 points.

Waiting

Reggina, the only other club involved in the match-fixing scandal, is still awaiting a decision on its appeal.

Juventus welcomed the ruling saying in a statement: "It recognizes at least in part the enormous effort and spirit of sacrifice shown by the club in renewing its internal structure and promoting the values of the sport to the benefit of the whole of the national game."

Lazio president Claudio Lotito, giving his reaction, said: "It's not a total victory because I point out yet again we haven't seen all the light shone on the truth. But I accept the court's ruling in good faith."

CONI's Arbitration Court is the highest level of the sports justice system in Italy.

The Gazzetta dello Sport had claimed this week that the rulings would be held over until tomorrow due to concerns that the verdicts could have incited crowd trouble during weekend matches.

The sports authorities were said to be particularly concerned about the safety of fans at yesterday's Milan derby.

The match-fixing scandal first came to light in May after Italian 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 any involvement in sport for five years for using his considerable power and influence at Italy's most successful club to assert control over the pool of soccer referees and high-ranking FIGC officials.

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