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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 28, 2006

Juventus still hope to be reinstated to Serie A

ROME, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Juventus hope Italy's football federation will promote them back to Serie A without having a civil court intervene in a match-fixing scandal, the club's chairman said.

The club are due on Friday to appear in front of the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio, which will hear Juventus's appeal against its relegation to the second-tier Serie B for sporting fraud.

The appeal before the civil court could cause a further delay to the start of the Serie A championship, which has already been moved back two weeks to Sept. 9.

'Our lawyers are speaking with those of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Between now and Friday anything is possible,' Juventus chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli was quoted on Monday in La Gazzetta dello Sport as saying.

'All it would take is a signal to our board' to prevent the appeal before the civil court, he said.

Juventus's decision to appeal to the civil courts followed their failure to regain top division status via the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) court of conciliation, which is the final court of appeal in Italy's sports justice system.

But the FIGC have said they will impose extra sanctions on the Turin-based club if they take their case outside the sporting justice system to the civil court.

In July, a sports tribunal hearing the match-fixing case stripped Juventus of their last two titles and sent them down to Serie B, where they will start the season on minus 17 points.

Juventus have argued the punishment is too harsh. Three other clubs caught up in the scandal - AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio - maintained their Serie A status, although with points penalties.

'We know we deserve some kind of sanction. The problem has always been the disproportionate nature of our punishment in relation to those of the other teams,' said Cobolli Gigli.

He also denied Italian media reports that Juventus were planning to sue the FIGC for 130 million euros ($167 million) if they were not reinstated to Serie A.

'The Federation knows well that we haven't asked for 130 million euros in damages, but only come up with a figure that gives an idea of what being relegated to Serie B would mean to us,' he said.

Although the FIGC have threatened Juventus with further sanctions, and Juventus have set in motion the appeals process before the Lazio court, the federation has not yet announced any additional measures.