Inter Milan gets league title stripped from Juventus

July 26, 2006

MILAN, Italy -- Inter Milan was declared Serie A champion Wednesday after a sports tribunal stripped Juventus of the title in Italy's match fixing-scandal.

The Italian soccer federation said the title was assigned to Inter because it was the highest-ranking team in the standings that had not been punished in the case.

Inter finished third in the 2005-2006 season, behind Juventus and AC Milan.

Juventus was relegated to Serie B and stripped of the title, while AC Milan was docked 30 points for the past season.

An appeals court Tuesday also upheld a decision by a lower sports court to strip Juventus of the 2004-2005 league title. That title will remain vacant, the soccer federation said.

Despite the final appeals rulings in the case, Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina say they will continue to fight the penalties they received.

Juventus plans to go to court to contest its relegation.

"We absolutely cannot accept this sentence," Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said.

Juventus was largely unsuccessful in its appeal against the July 14 ruling which relegated it to the second division. Its points penalty for next season was reduced to 17 from 30.

AC Milan, spared demotion from Serie A, was reinstated to the Champion's League and had its point penalty for next season reduced from 15 to 8.

Milan's participation in the Champions League still must be ratified by European governing body UEFA, which plans a special meeting on the issue Thursday in Switzerland.

Tuesday's appeals court ruling also reinstated Fiorentina and Lazio to Serie A, Italy's top league, with heavy points penalties -- 19 for Fiorentina and 11 for Lazio -- but upheld the original ruling barring both teams from European club competition in the upcoming season.

In the earlier ruling, Fiorentina was sent down to Serie B and given a 12-point penalty while Lazio was demoted and docked seven points.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press