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By ESPN Staff
Jul 13, 2006

FIGC boss snubs Berlusconi's call for leniency

ROME, July 13 (Reuters) - The head of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has snubbed calls by the country's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for leniency towards clubs involved in the Serie A match-fixing trial.

'I'm not interested in what he says. I've got my own job to do,' said Guido Rossi on Thursday, responding to claims by Berlusconi earlier in the day that sanctions against clubs would hit innocent fans the hardest.

Berlusconi is the owner and president of AC Milan, one of four clubs from Italy's top division - along with Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio - accused of trying to influence the appointment of match officials for games during the 2004-05 season.

Twenty-five individuals, including club and federation officials, referees and linesmen, are also awaiting the verdicts of the trial, which are expected on Friday or Saturday.

'We will not accept punishments against the fans, the teams, when the people who should be punished are the individuals that made the mistakes,' said Berlusconi.

'I'm not talking only on behalf of Milan, but also on behalf of the fans of Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio who have written to me.'

If found guilty, Juventus could be relegated to Italy's third division or lower and be stripped of the Serie A titles they won in 2005 and 2006.

The other three clubs risk relegation to Italy's second-tier Serie B. Individuals face bans from the sport.

In the wake of Italy's World Cup victory several Italian politicians, including the country's Justice Minister Clemente Mastella, have called for a general amnesty for all those facing charges.

The scandal broke in early May with the publication of intercepted telephone conversations between former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi and senior FIGC officialsg discussing refereeing appointments during the 2004-05 season.