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By ESPN Staff

Juventus to appeal sentence despite FIFA threats

MILAN, Italy -- Juventus formally notified an administrative court in Rome that it will appeal its sentence in a match-fixing scandal -- despite the Italian soccer federation warning it could trigger more disciplinary action.

The news agency ANSA reported that Juventus had filed its appeal on Thursday, but club spokesman Roberto Patriarca told The Associated Press that the club had only notified the civil court.

"Juventus has sent a notification of its intention to appeal," Patriarca said. "In the next few days the physical appeal will be lodged."

FIFA on Wednesday threatened to suspend World Cup champion Italy and all Italian clubs from international competition should Juventus appeal to a civil court, prompting the Italian soccer federation's warning.

"The procedure is underway," Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli told news agency ANSA.

Cobolli Gigli added that Juventus' recourse to court was unavoidable as "the severity of the sanctions is unjustified" and that there was "a lack of fair treatment by comparison to all the other clubs involved."

A ruling on July 14 by a sports tribunal stripped Juventus of its last two Serie A titles and relegated the club to the second division. A sports appeals court on July 25 reduced Juventus' points penalty from 30 to 17, but upheld the club's demotion.

Four other Italian clubs involved in the match-fixing scandal received points penalties, but were not demoted.

FIFA said that forcing a decision before a civil court would interfere with the autonomy of the soccer world and undermine the sport's arbitration system. Any possible suspension would be indefinite and could stop Italy from taking part in qualifying for the 2008 European Championship.

Lawyers for the Juventus said Wednesday that it had the right to appeal through Italian state courts.

Juventus' case is scheduled to be heard Sept. 6.