Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A bargain hunt begins at Juventus

Some of Italy's biggest football clubs have become tainted and sleazy.

The corruption scandal that gripped Italy just before the world cup, broke in May when newspapers published intercepted conversations between Luciano Moggi, the former general manager of Juventus, and senior officials of the football federation discussing the appointment of referees during the 2004/05 football season.

Less than a week after Italy celebrated winning the world cup championship, a sports tribunal has delivered a brutal verdict which reversed the euphoria and has sent the nation into mourning.

Even Italy's Justice Minister Clemente Mastella weighed in against the verdict, saying it mostly punished fans.

Three of Italy's Serie A clubs Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina have been demoted to the second division for their involvement in Italy's match-fixing scandal. Juventus is stripped of their last two Serie A titles and had 30 points deducted, meaning they are likely to stay down for two seasons.

Juventus is one of Italy's oldest and most renowned clubs. It is based in Turin.

AC Milan will stay in Serie A but will start the season docked 15 points.

All are barred from playing in Europe - Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina in the Champions League; Lazio the Uefa Cup.

This is a huge blow for Juventus whose big stars like Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Del Piero, Zambrotta, Gianluigi Buffon, Patrick Viera, Emerson, Lilian Thuram and Pavel Nedved are likely to seek immediate transfers to other clubs.

Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea if not negotiating already are waiting for outcome of an appeal against the verdict by Juventus.

According to a football financial expert, the fallen Italian giants will need extra money to continue. It is likey that sponsors will drop out and many of the top players will not want to play in a lower division.

These illustreous clubs now put to shame with the match fixing verdict cannot afford to keep the high-earning players, so there will be be some cut-price deals for those who are watching with interest.

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