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Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 20 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
6:30 PM GMT
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 25, 2006

Court confirm Juve drop, Lazio and Viola reprieve

ROME, July 25 (Reuters) - The relegation of Juventus to Serie B for their role in a match-fixing scandal was confirmed by an Italian soccer appeal court on Tuesday but Lazio and Fiorentina received a reprieve and will stay in Serie A.

AC Milan will also remain in the top flight as decided at a previous hearing but with a smaller number of points deducted - minus eight rather than minus 15.

Crucially, the six-times European champions will now be entered for the third qualifying round of the Champions League after their points penalty on last season's tally was reduced.

Juventus and Fiorentina said they would appeal against the latest decision.

Juve did receive some clemency with the appeals court reducing the penalty points they start next season with from minus 30 to minus 17.

They will also have to play three matches at a neutral venue and have been fined 120,000 euros.

The decision to revoke the last two Italian league titles won by Juventus in 2005 and 2006 was confirmed by the appeals court although no decision has yet been made on who will be declared champions for those two seasons.

With the various points penalties and Juve's relegation, Inter Milan come out on top of last season's standings but it is not yet clear if the title will be awarded to them as it may be left unallocated.

While not the kind of change Juventus had hoped for the reduction does give them a chance to push for promotion back to the top flight Serie A next season.

But the saga may not yet be over as Juventus said they intended to continue to appeal against the decision, raising the prospect that their case could end up in a civil court.

Chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said in a club statement: 'We absolutely cannot accept this sentence. For this reason we have decided to push our case in every possible forum'.

The first step Juve could take is to turn to the Italian Olympic Committee and should they remain dissatisfied they could then appeal to a regional civil court - a potentially protracted process.

Fiorentina also said they did not accept the decision with club owner Diego Della Valle saying: ' We haven't done anything and we will go down every avenue to clear our name'.

The appeal court overturned a tribunal's decision to relegate Fiorentina and Lazio, allowing them to stay in Serie A next season but with a heavy penalty.

Fiorentina will start the new season with minus 19 points and Lazio with minus 11 points. Fiorentina must play three matches at a neutral ground, Lazio two matches and both were also fined 120,000 euros.

Both clubs also had 30 point penalties imposed on their tallies from last season, removing them from any of the European competition slots.

AC Milan's penalty points for next season were reduced from minus 15 to minus eight and the retrospective punishment on last season's points tally was reduced from minus 44 to minus 30.

Italy's two teams automatically entered in the Champions League next season will be Inter Milan and AS Roma. AC Milan and Chievo Verona will play in the qualification round.

Palermo, Livorno and Parma will take part in the UEFA Cup.

No decision has yet been taken on who will be handed Juve's place in the top flight as Italian rules are far from clear on the procedure.

Should the league table be used as the basis for deciding who is reprieved then Sicilian club Messina, who finished third from bottom in Serie A last season, would be saved.

Lecce and Treviso are the clubs to lose out following the appeals verdict.

The pair, who finished last season as the two bottom clubs in Serie A, were reinstated to the top flight - along with 18th-placed Messina - after the original verdict.

But with Fiorentina and Lazio back in Serie A, Lecce and Treviso return to the second tier.

Messina stay up, with Juventus failing in their bid to climb back into the top flight.