Juventus withdraws appeal from civil court

August 31, 2006

ROME, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Juventus decided to drop its appeal to a civil court against a match-fixing ruling on Thursday, diminishing the threat of a further delay to the start of the Serie A season.

'The board has decided unanimously to withdraw the appeal it made in the past few days to the regional court of Lazio and to turn instead to CONI's (the Italian Olympic Committee's) court of arbitration,' the club said in a statement.

Juventus's lawyers were due to appear in front of the regional court of Lazio on Friday.

The first round of Serie A matches has already been put back two weeks to Sept. 9-10 as a result of the legal wrangling following the judgements in the match-fixing scandal.

'It's a decision that is good for Juventus, but not only for Juventus,' club president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli said at the end of the board meeting.

In its statement, Juventus said the decision was 'in line with the principles of loyalty and sporting values that are at the base of its activity and tradition' and based on a change in the attitude of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), who seemed ready to 'resolve the case with fairness'.

The legal battle began in July, when a sports tribunal stripped Juventus of their last two Serie A titles and sent them down to the second division Serie B, where they will start the season on minus 17 points.

Juventus said the punishment was too harsh. Three other clubs involved in the scandal - AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio - retained their Serie A status but with point penalties.

Juve filed its appeal to the civil court after it failed to reach a compromise with the FIGC in CONI's court of conciliation earlier this month.