Clubs split ranks in Italian match fixing case | india | Hindustan Times
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Clubs split ranks in Italian match fixing case

The clubs though, continued to protest their innocence after lawyers for Juventus said the Serie A champions were ready to accept the punishment.

india Updated: Jul 07, 2006 14:17 IST

Three top Italian clubs accused of match fixing continued to protest their innocence after lawyers for Juventus said the Serie A champions were prepared to accept their punishment.

Juve rattled league rivals Lazio, AC Milan and Fiorentina by announcing they would accept relegation to the second division and a points deduction for their role in the alleged scam.

"The acceptable sanction, let's say forced but acceptable, is that proposed for the other teams... That's to say, the second division with penalty points," Juventus lawyer Cesare Zaccone told the sports tribunal.

The prosecutor in the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) hearing has demanded Juve be dropped to the third division with the loss of six points and stripped of its last two league titles.

The other three face relegation to the second division next season, with AC Milan losing three points, and Lazio and Fiorentina 15 points each.

Arriving at the hearing in Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, Lazio lawyer Gianmichele Gentile said neither the club nor president Claudio Lotito, who faced a five-year suspension from sports duties, would change their positions.

"Juve's defence has chosen one path, but we have nothing to admit because we have done nothing," Gentile said.

The legal teams for AC Milan, owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and shoe tycoon Diego Della Valle's Fiorentina, adopted a similar approach.

"This stupor has come about from a prosecutor's request that had and has nothing to do with the facts," said AC Milan lawyer Leonardo Cantamessa.

Former FIGC president Franco Carraro is one of 25 officials, referees and linesmen who, with the four clubs, have been accused of sporting fraud in relation to referee selection for Italian league matches in the 2004/05 season.

The tribunal is under pressure to hand down its ruling by early next week to allow the UEFA status of clubs not implicated in the scandal to be clarified. Juve's former general manager Luciano Moggi and chairman Antonio Giraudo, face five-year bans as the alleged chief architects of the racket.

The controversy erupted following the publication in May of telephone conversations in which Moggi was heard telling Pierluigi Pairetto, the head of the Italian referees' association, which match officials he wanted assigned to certain league and European games.