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Stoke settle in, seek away breakthrough

Stoke City

Napoli win match-fixing appeal

Napoli's appeal against the two-point penalty imposed on them last month has been successful, putting the club back into the Serie A title chase.

The Partenopei were docked two points and fined €70,000 by the Italian FA's Disciplinary Commission, while captain Paolo Cannavaro and defender Gianluca Grava were suspended for six months for failing to report the attempted fix to authorities.

The charges centred on former third-choice goalkeeper Matteo Gianello - who was handed a three-year-and-three-month ban - after he claimed he suggested to Cannavaro and Grava that the May 2010 fixture between Sampdoria and Napoli be fixed. Gianello said Cannavaro and Grava rejected his offer, but the pair maintained they had not been approached.

The club appealed to the Federal Court and the court heard that Gianello's original testimony had been inconsistent, with the details of when and where he claimed to have approached Cannavaro and Grava changing.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Napoli lawyer Mattia Grassani had told Radio Marte: "If Gianello is not credible, how can such a heavy judgment be passed down based only on the reconstruction of the police official? There is no other evidence."

The duo were cleared and will be available to play immediately, and the removal of the two-point deduction leaves Napoli just three points behind league leaders Juventus. The fine imposed on the club has also been reduced to €50,000, and Gianello's suspension was cut to 21 months.

Gaetano Fedele, the agent representing Napoli's players, told Radio Goal: "It was a tough and deserved victory - it was a victory for Gianluca, for Paolo, the lawyers, for Napoli, the fans and for us. Justice has triumphed.

"There is a euphoric atmosphere and we are all very moved. To say we all burst into tears is an understatement. It was a very moving phone call with Paolo and Gianluca. We now hope that all this can contribute to giving the season meaning. This victory represents the Scudetto of honesty and transparency. We thank everyone."


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