Chaos reigns as Juventus' penalty is cut

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The Independent Football

Confusion once again engulfed Italian football last night when Juventus had their penalty in the match-fixing scandal reduced by eight points.

The Turin club immediately jumped from 20th place in the Serie B standings to 12th place. Juve now have 10 points, eight behind Serie B leaders Genoa.

In July, Juventus were stripped of there 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles, demoted a division and docked 17 points by a sports tribunal. However, the 17-point penalty has now become a nine-point penalty.

Juventus said the latest decision "recognised at least in part the enormous commitment and spirit of sacrifice shown by the club".

Juventus withdrew their plans to appeal to an "ordinary" court in August after receiving "signals of willingness" from sports officials to assess their situation more fairly.

An independent arbitration board set up by the Italian Olympic Committee also ruled last night on three other clubs involved in the scandal. Lazio's 11-point penalty in the top division was reduced to three points, and Lazio moved from 18th place to 13th. Lazio lawyer Giammichele Gentile said he was "partially satisfied" with the verdict.

Fiorentina had their 19-point penalty cut to 15 points, and remained in 19th place in the standings. Fiorentina have already indicated they may appeal.

Milan, who began the season with an eight-point penalty, did not receive any reduction in their sentence. Milan issued a curt statement saying the sentence "does not deserve any comment on behalf of Milan".

Appeal hearings for the two other clubs sanctioned in the scandal, Reggina and Arezzo, are expected in November, and could be held next week.

The arbitration board is the highest level of justice in Italian sports. The sentences are expected to be the final decisions handed out by sports authorities in a scandal that began six months ago, with sentences that have undergone two revisions. The Italian Soccer Federation originally opened its investigation on 2 May into phone taps that suggested match fixing.