Lazio captain Stefano Mauri is set to miss practically the entire campaign after his suspension for his involvement in a match-fixing scandal was raised to nine months.
Mauri was appealing the Italian Football Association’s (FIGC) initial sanction of six months -- already a major reduction on the previously suggested term of four-and-a-half years -- for failing to report a case of match-fixing of which he was believed to be aware.
The case refers to the matches between Lazio and Genoa in 2011 and Lecce versus Lazio from the same year, two games which the FIGC’s disciplinary committee believe were manipulated with Mauri’s consent.
The 33-year-old is now likely to make one final appeal to the Italian Olympic Committee’s National Tribunal for the Arbitration of Sport (TNAS) in a bid to return to action with his legal team rejecting Wednesday’s judgment.
"It is a decision which demands careful evaluation of the motivations because the way it is, not only does it appear unjust, but also incomprehensible," Mauri’s defendants Amilcare Buceti and Matteo Melandri wrote in a press release distributed by ANSA.
"It is a result which can only warrant our dissatisfaction. There were no objective elements which supported the sanction for failing to report (an act of match-fixing) for the Lazio-Genoa game and now, with the total lack of proof, the Federal Court is extending their rebuttal to the subsequent game also.
"Our intention is to contest the decision swiftly in order to obtain the overturning of a decision which in any case is unjust and iniquitous."
Mauri was arrested in May 2012 and, after eight days spent in custody, he was released under house arrest. While the trial proceeded, he was able to continue playing for Lazio until he was officially banned in July, less than two months after lifting the Coppa Italia as Lazio captain.