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By ESPN Staff
Aug 30, 2006

Juve begin Serie B campaign by the sea

ROME, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Juventus are due to start their bid for promotion back into Serie A against Rimini on Sept. 9, after the calendars for the 2006-07 Italian soccer season were announced on Wednesday.

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

It will be the first time the club has ever appeared outside Italy's top flight.

Rimini, who represent the popular seaside resort on the east coast of the country, spent last season battling against relegation in the lower reaches of Serie B.

Serie A will also begin on Sept. 9 with champions Inter Milan travelling to Fiorentina, who start on minus 19 points for their involvement in the scandal, while AS Roma host Livorno.

The rest of Serie A plays the following day, including the other two sides found guilty in the scandal -- AC Milan and Lazio -- who face each other at the San Siro stadium.

They start their campaigns on minus eight and minus 11 points respectively.

The calendars, compiled by a computer in a televised ceremony at the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) near Rome's Olympic Stadium, are not definitive and depend on whether Juventus take their battle against relegation to the civil courts.

Having failed to regain their top division status in the sporting courts, Juve are set to appear in front of the Lazio regional court on Friday -- a move that could further delay the start of the season, which has already been postponed by two weeks.

Following talks with Juventus chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli on Wednesday, CONI president Gianni Petrucci said he hoped the club had been persuaded to settle the matter without resorting to the civil courts.

'I don't know. All I can do is await the decision of the Juventus board tomorrow and hope that good sense prevails,' he said.

'We at CONI are against any intervention on the part of the civil courts. One of the strengths of Italian sport is its autonomy.'

The head of the Italian Football Federation, Guido Rossi, echoed Petrucci's words.

'It was a very civil meeting at which we clarified many things. We (at the FIGC) have always shared CONI's concept of the autonomy of sport, an opinion we expressed to the Juventus president.'