EURO 2000
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Wednesday, July 18, 2001
Bans upheld on appeal in Italian passport scandal

ROME, July 18 (Reuters) - Eleven players in the Italian league had bans of up to a year confirmed on Wednesday for their part in a false passports scandal.

Nelson Dida
Dida: Ban upheld
Inter Milan's Uruguayan striker Alvaro Recoba and Brazilian goalkeeper Dida of AC Milan were among those whose one-year bans were upheld by the appeals commission (CAF) of the country's soccer federation.

Only one player was cleared by the CAF, AS Roma's Gustavo Bartelt. His case will be sent back to the Italian League, who handed out the original bans, for a fresh examination.

Udinese were the hardest hit, having four Brazilian players banned until June 30, 2002 - Warley, Da Silva, Jorghino and Alberto.

Sampdoria had three players banned for six months - Mekongo, Job and Ze - while Vicenza will lose Brazilians Jeda and Capucho.

Their clubs were also handed heavy fines for their part in the scandal relating to how players gained European Union (EU) passports.

The League's earlier decision to clear some players and clubs, including Lazio's Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron - now with Manchester United - and club president Sergio Cragnotti, was also upheld.

The passport probe marred the final months of last season, which was also sullied by doping scandals and fan violence.

Italian clubs are allowed a maximum of five non-EU players on their books but a corps of foreign players with EU passports takes to the field each week.

Veron and other EU-passport holding players had been charged with using false documents to obtain the prized paperwork, which essentially freed up space on club books for other foreign players.

The Argentine had played on an Italian passport gained by claiming Italian ancestry through a great-great grandfather who emigrated to Argentina about a century ago.

In a bizarre twist to the passport furore, the FIGC in May - close to the end of the season - scrapped a rule that said teams could only field three of their non-EU players at a time, brandishing it 'illegal'.

The maximum five non-EU players rule is expected to follow suit. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), which oversees all sport in Italy, is studying the limit and appears likely to ditch it before the start of next season.


Recoba disputes passports sentence

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