serie a news

Italy match-fixing trial adjourned on first day

January 20, 2009

The criminal trial probing the 2006 match-fixing scandal that rocked Italian football began in Naples on Tuesday when proceedings were immediately adjourned until March 24 because of legal arguments.

The affair, which involved clubs trying to procure favourable referees, led to Juventus being stripped of their 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles and being demoted to the second tier while five other clubs were deducted points.

Former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi and Lazio president Claudio Lotito are among 24 club directors, referees and former Italian soccer federation officials standing trial.

A separate fast-track procedure has been reserved for 11 others implicated in the affair.

Moggi, who has no link to a Juve side now back in Serie A, was banned from football for five years by a sporting tribunal in 2006 and earlier this month was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence after a separate soccer corruption trial.

The match-fixing scandal has come to a criminal court after Naples prosecutors decided to bring a case. The defendants deny the charges.

Some media reports said the trial could last over a year.

Italian Prime Minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi is among the witnesses due to be called along with England coach Fabio Capello and Italy boss Marcello Lippi.