Juventus to begin further round of appeals

August 4, 2006

MILAN, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A sports court will start hearings this month into appeals by Juventus and four officials against punishments in a match-fixing scandal that has prompted an exodus of players from the Turin club.

Juventus were demoted last month from Serie A to Serie B and stripped of their titles from the last two seasons for seeking an unfair advantage in the appointment of referees.

An appeals court reduced their penalty points for the coming season from 30 to 17 points, but refused to let the club back into the top league.

Juventus and several officials from clubs and Italy's football federation then lodged appeals with the Chamber of Arbitration of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

The chamber is the last level of appeal in Italy before any unresolved cases go to civil courts.

The Chamber of Arbitration will hear Juventus's appeal on Aug. 18 in Rome, CONI said on Friday. The club has said it is prepared if necessary to take its case to the civil courts, a step that could drag the scandal out for months or even years.

Adriano Galliani, vice-president of AC Milan and former president of the Italian Football League (FIGC), and Antonio Giraudo, the former chief executive of Juventus, will appear before the court on Sept. 5.

Galliani has been banned from soccer for one year while Giraudo has been barred for five years and ordered to pay a 20,000 euro ($25,590) fine. Milan has been penalised eight points in the coming season but will play in the Champions League.

Luciano Moggi, the former managing director of Juventus whose tapped phone calls triggered the scandal, will be heard on Sept. 7. He has been banned from soccer for five years and given a 50,000 euro fine.

Also on Sept. 7 the tribunal will hear former FIGC president Innocenzo Mazzini.

Several top players have already left Juventus, including Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, who went to Real Madrid, and France midfielder Patrick Vieira, who signed with Inter Milan.