Capello jumps ship as Juve face the plunge to Serie C

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The Independent Online

The prosecutor leading the Italian Federation's investigation into alleged match-fixing yesterday called for Juventus to be relegated to the third or fourth division.

If the federation's tribunal in Rome confirms the sentence, sending Juve down to Serie C1 or C2, it would represent an economic catastrophe for the club. The prosecutor also asked for Juve to be stripped of their 2004-05 and 2005-06 league titles, and to begin next season with a six-point deduction.

The prosecutor, Stefano Palazzi, demanded lesser punishments for the three other clubs charged, Lazio, Fiorentina and Milan. They should be relegated to the second division, Serie B, he said, where they would begin next season with points deducted. Lazio and Fiorentina would each be docked 15 points, threatening their chances of survival in the division. Milan, owned by Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, face a three-point penalty.

Palazzi also asked for stiff penalties for many of the individuals charged. The former federation chief, Franco Carraro, and his deputy, Innocenzo Mazzini, face bans for at least five years.

Similar suspensions were demanded for the former Juve directors Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo, the Lazio president, Claudio Lotito, Fiorentina's owners, Diego and Andrea Della Valle, Pierluigi Pairetto and Paolo Bergamo, the two officials formerly responsible for appointing match referees, and Tullio Lanese, former head of the national referees' association.

Milan's managing director, Adriano Galliani, faces a two-year ban, while Massimo De Santis, allegedly the leader of the referees who favoured Juventus, faces a minimum five-year ban. A further seven referees face bans ranging from one to five years.

In each case, with the exception of Galliani, Palazzi asked the presiding judge, Cesare Ruperto, to consider giving life bans from the respective activities of those charged. The referees, therefore, would be prohibited from undertaking any activity in football organised by the federation for one to five years but would be banned for life from officiating in federation-controlled matches.

Palazzi said that the network of club officials, senior referees and federation top brass, which emerged when magistrates taped the phone calls of those involved for over a year, was a "sophisticated system which undermined one of the fundamental principles of sport: the independence of referees". The system operated, he said, to ensure favourable treatment by referees of the four clubs, and, in particular, of Juventus. The penalties requested by Palazzi are effectively opening bargaining positions. Final verdicts are expected between 20 and 27 July.

Juve's coach Fabio Capello resigned yesterday and will be named as Real Madrid's new coach tomorrow, the club's incoming president Ramon Calderon said last night.

Capello is likely to be replaced at Juventus by former France captain Didier Deschamps.

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