Deschamps inks two year-deal to coach Juve

July 10, 2006

MILAN, July 10 (Reuters) - Italian champions Juventus have signed a two-year coaching contract with former France soccer captain Didier Deschamps after losing former coach Fabio Capello to Real Madrid.

Juventus, who are facing possible relegation to the second-tier Serie B or even lower leagues as a punishment in an ongoing match-fixing trial, said on Monday the contract would run until June 30, 2008.

Deschamps, 37, who retired from international football after winning the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European championship with France, said last month Juventus had asked him to coach the side if they were relegated to the second-tier Serie B.

He was appointed Monaco coach in 2001 and became their longest-serving manager, taking them to the Champions League final in 2004. He stepped down in 2005 after a poor run.

Capello's contract was seen as linked to Juventus top-league status, and he signed a three-year deal with Real Madrid last week.

In one of Italy's biggest ever sporting scandals, Juventus and fellow top Italian soccer clubs AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio have been accused of sporting fraud by a sports prosecutor. The clubs deny the charge.

No decision has been taken yet on possible relegation for Juventus, but even a lawyer for Juventus said demotion to Serie B would be an acceptable punishment in the event of a guilty finding.

The verdicts are expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.