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MLS first-half overachievers, underachievers

MLS All-Star Game
By ESPN Staff

Milan, Viola suffer setback in match-fixing appeal

ROME, Aug 29 (Reuters) - AC Milan and Fiorentina failed to reach agreement with the Italian Football Federation at a court of conciliation on Tuesday, denting their hopes of overturning the punishments for their involvement in a Serie A match-fixing scandal.

Two other leading Italian clubs - Juventus and Lazio - were also found guilty in the scandal, and their appeals have already delayed the start of the Serie A season.

'We didn't reach an agreement with the Italian Football Federation,' Massimo Zacchero, the conciliator assigned to Milan by the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) court of conciliation, was quoted as saying on the club's Web site.

'There has been the suspension of the secondary sanctions and the parties have agreed to go to CONI's court of arbitration.'

The secondary sanctions were a one-match stadium ban and a fine.

Milan and Fiorentina face starting their Serie A campaigns on minus eight points and minus 19 points respectively after being found guilty of conspiring with referees and linesmen to rig games.

Of the two other clubs found guilty, Lazio retained their top-flight status, though with points penalties, while Juventus were stripped of their last two titles and relegated to the second division Serie B, where they will start on minus 17 points.

Juventus have failed to return to Serie A via CONI's court of conciliation and earlier this month decided to take their appeal to the civil courts.

Their hearing in front of the Lazio regional court is scheduled for Friday and threatens further to delay the start of the Serie A season, which has already been put back by two weeks to Sept. 10.

Zacchero ruled out the possibility that Milan would follow Juventus's example.

'On Milan's part there is the desire to close the incident at the court of arbitration and not go to the Lazio regional court,' he said.

Fiorentina have not said whether they intend to take the case to the civil courts.