The Italian job – Conclusion

IN THE end, Italy’s law-makers did not stick to their guns, failing to uphold the greater part of the exemplary punishments meted out to the country’s four ‘scandal’ clubs in the appeals court.  However, having said this, Juventus’ machinations were exposed on taped telephone conversations between club directors and referees, and there is no way back for the ‘Old Lady’, even in the land that gave rise to the Mafia. The champions of this and last season will remain in the second division for the forthcoming campaign, albeit with their 30 point penalty reduced to 17.  The Turin club has also been stripped of its title, handing Inter Milan the 2005/06 crown.

Lazio and Fiorentina, on the other hand, have been given a reprieve and reinstated to the Serie A with an 11 and 19 point handicap respectively. AC Milan, spared forced relegation in the original judgement but excluded from international competition, will now be allowed to enter the Champions League qualifying round, and will start the new season with an eight-point deficit instead of the 15 first decided upon. The leniency shown by the federal court has appalled the prosecution, who recommended harsher sentences for the clubs that would have seen Juventus sent to the third division and Milan joining Lazio and Fiorentina in the second.  This scenario will now not come to pass.

In Hungary, the country’s most famous club, Ferencváros will continue life in the second tier following the discovery of financial irregularities.