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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 04:43 GMT 05:43 UK
Serie A quartet will stand trial
Italian Football Federation emblem
Italian football heavyweights Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina will all face a sports court over allegations of corruption in the game.

An Italian Football Federation (FIGC) statement said prosecutor Stefano Palazzi had charged a total of 30 "subjects" for a range of illegalities.

Twenty-six unnamed people - but no players - are also set to stand trial.

Hearings will begin next Wednesday, with those found guilty facing the prospect of fines, bans and relegation.

Italian football league president Adriano Galliani, the vice president of AC Milan, announced his resignation but in a statement, denied any wrongdoing.

"I have decided to resign from my position as president of the Italian football league, but I wish to make it clear that this can not in any way be interepreted as an admission of responsibility," he said.

"The charges against me are an injustice and I reiterate that I am a total stranger to this affair."

BBC News' Rome correspondent Christian Fraser said: "It was a bittersweet day here. Within hours of Italy making it into the last 16, the country's football federation announced which teams would be involved in the hearings next week.

"The announcement did not come out until the Stock Exchange in Milan closed, where two of the four clubs involved, Juventus and Lazio, are listed.

"If any of these teams are found guilty then they could be relegated and will not take part in the European club competitions next season."

An investigation was started following the publication in May of telephone conversations in which the then Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi was heard telling referees chief Pierluigi Pairetto which match officials he wanted assigned to certain games.

Thirteen of Italy's 23-man World Cup squad play for the four clubs that are under scrutiny.

Separate criminal prosecutions may follow the FIGC trial, which is expected to deliver its verdicts between 7 and 9 July - the weekend of the World Cup final.

The decision was announced after the close of trading at the Milan Stock Exchange because some of the teams involved in the scandal are listed.

In an eight-line press release, it was confirmed that defendants from the four clubs would receive the 108-page dossier into the investigations on Friday.

A total of 30 people are under investigation, but due to Italian privacy laws, none of the names could be released.

It has been anticipated that severe sanctions, including possible relegation from Serie A, will be imposed on clubs found guilty of attempting to fix matches.

Juventus finished top of the table ahead of second-placed AC Milan in Serie A last season, but were only awarded the title on a "provisional" basis, according to former FIGC president Franco Carraro.

Carraro resigned in May, along with Moggi and the entire Juventus board.



SEE ALSO
Italian football's tangled web
18 May 06 |  Europe
Italian FA under emergency rule
16 May 06 |  Europe


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