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By ESPN Staff

Juve lodge appeal despite threat of sanctions

MILAN, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Juventus have lodged an appeal with a civil court to overturn their relegation for match fixing despite a threat of extra sanctions from Italy's football federation, a spokesman for the club said on Thursday.

A soccer tribunal ruling on the match-fixing scandal in July stripped Juve of their last two Italian titles and demoted them to the second division, where they will start the new season minus 17 points.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) has said it would impose extra sanctions on Juventus if they turned to the regional Lazio court, as the Turin club have now done.

'We accept the risk' of FIGC sanctions, a Juventus spokesman said. 'The priority is the defence of the rights of the shareholders.'

The FICG declined to comment on the appeal.

In a letter to the world soccer's governing body FIFA on Wednesday, FIGC said it would not hesitate to trigger further sanctions if Juventus lodged an appeal with the Lazio court.

A FIGC official said on Wednesday that the federation could deduct three more points if Juventus went ahead with the appeal, leaving them at minus 20.

Juventus have said the FIGC punishment is too harsh and that their relegation, which has led to the sale of several leading players, would have serious consequences on their income.

Four other clubs implicated in the scandal - AC Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina - all maintained their Serie A status but were handed points penalties for the new season.

FIGC has said that under its statutes member clubs agree to abide by sports authorities' rules, forsaking the right to turn to civil courts which are outside the sports justice system.

It said it received a letter from FIFA on Tuesday, reiterating that clubs appealing to civil courts should be punished.

FIFA said on Wednesday that it was satisfied with the Italian federation's promise to take action if Juventus turned to the civil court. It was not clear whether FIFA would impose its own sanctions, which could theoretically include preventing Italian clubs competing in European competition and even preventing the World Cup-winning national side from playing in the European Championship qualifying campaign.

If Juventus succeed in getting the regional court to suspend their punishment, that could further delay the start of the season, which has already been put back by two weeks to Sept. 9-10.

Juve shares were down 2.75 percent at 1.80 euros at 0911 GMT.