Italian football scandal: FIGC cave in after a waste of time
Yesterday evening the sports court of the Italian Football Federation, the FIGC (see previous article on acronym) heard the appeals from Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio regarding their sanctions over match-tapping, and decided on their implications handed down by the FIGC tribunal:
Juventus remain as they were after the first decision, in Serie B, stripped of their 2005 & 2006 league titles, out of European football with officials banned from football, to play three games behind closed doors, with the mere consolation that they will begin Serie B football with 17pts deficient rather than the originally imposed 30pts. They have had to watch their captain Fabio Cannavaro leave for Real Madrid along with Emerson for a combined £13.7m, and Lillian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta for £13m jointly to Barcelona. They may have been fined 120,000 euros (my calculation is just over £80,000) but that has not been confirmed.
Fiorentina were reinstated to Serie A yet begin their season with a 19pts deficit rather than the originally imposed 12pts. They are still refrained from European football. It was mentioned they too were fined 120,000 euros and to play three matches behind closed doors but I have not heard or read it confirmed about the fine.
Lazio was also reinstated to Serie A and begin their season with a 11pts deficit instead of the originally imposed 7pts. They too were said to have been fined 120,000 euros and forced to play two matches behind closed doors, again the fine has not been read or heard by myself to have been confirmed. They too are refrained from European football.
AC Milan were further reduced in punishment with a 8pts deficit to begin Serie A with instead of the imposed 15pts, forced to play behind closed doors for one match AND reinstated in the qualifying stage of the Champions League with Arsenal and Liverpool. I said previously in my last article on this that AC Milan starting with 15pts deficit was not a punishment, it was a challenge. Eight points now makes a mockery of that statement, and European football to boot (excuse the pun).
Implications reverberated elsewhere. With Fiorentina and Lazio up into Serie A, Leece and Treviso now find they are eventually consigned to Serie B while Messina remain up pending Juventus' appeal, which I strongly expect to not be overturned. In the Champions League goes AC Milan with Roma, Chievo and Inter, meaning Palermo now joins Parma and Livorno into the UEFA Cup, Empoli are out of European football. I am not against the four clubs, my position is with irrefutable evidence the punishment fits the offence. If the evidence indicated a necessity for the punishment, then an appeal will have to be equally irrefutbale to reduce that punishment. If these appeals were so convincing, that questions that which the FIGC relied upon to issue the original punishments. If the evidence against the four clubs is that questionable, the FIGC should not have issued such punishments in the first place.
What could have occurred to change a demotion back into a promotion? Even more puzzling, the promotion is accompanied with a heavier points deficit, so Fiorentina and Lazio did wrong and should not be demoted but hit with a heavier points deficit to begin with. Sounds to me that the FIGC caved in to crocodile tears. In light of fresh new evidence in favour of the appellants, the punishments should have stayed or never made in the first place. Leece and Teviso considered it a reprieve for a bad season only to find they are to be in Serie B, Palermo considered Champions League football and now settle for the UEFA Cup (no disrespect to the UEFA Cup but clubs know where they prefer to be) and practically Juventus' major rivals are given a further helping hand. Bearing in mind the implications to others in this matter, the FIGC should have been more considerate and sanctioned with appropriate punishment, not that which is hugely overturned.