The appeal court of the Italian Football Federation yesterday watered down the punishments handed out two weeks ago to the clubs and individuals accused of systematic match-fixing. Juventus will still be sent down to Serie B next season but with a 17-point penalty rather than the federation's first-degree penalty of 30 points which could have condemned Juve to Serie C the following season.
Five-year bans for the club's former director general, Luciano Moggi - who pulled the strings of the match-fixing network - and the former managing director, Antonio Giraudo, were upheld. The verdicts stripping Juventus of their 2004-05 and 2005-06 league titles were also upheld.
The Juventus president, Giovanni Cobolli Gigli, reacted angrily to the sentences, saying that, "Juventus were paying the penalty for everybody" and hinted at a legal challenge.
Lazio and Fiorentina were reprieved from relegation to Serie B, which had been imposed on the two clubs in the first hearing on 14 July. Lazio retain their Serie A status but start next season with an 11-point penalty. The club was docked 30 points for the 2005-06 season, costing them a place in the Uefa Cup.
Lazio's case was strengthened by the testimony of the referee Daniele Tombolini. He was in charge of Lazio-Brescia, one of the games in which Lazio were alleged to have sought favours. Tombolini said he had made mistakes in the game which had favoured Brescia.
Fiorentina had been sent down to Serie B but will remain in Serie A and will begin next season with a 19-point penalty. The club was also docked 30 points for last season, costing it a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions' League.
The winner in the appeals process was Milan. They were docked 30 points for 2005-06, which sends them to fourth place but in the qualifying rounds of the Champions' League, and begin next season with an eight-point handicap. They had originally been docked 44 points for last season, ruling them out of Europe, and 15 points next season.
Milan appear to have convinced the appeals tribunal that the activity of its referee's assistant, Leonardo Meani, was somethingthe club should not be responsible. Their managing director, Adriano Galliani, had a one-year ban reduced to nine months while Meani had his three years and six months reduced by a year.
Another beneficiary of the clemency was the former federation president, Franco Carraro, who had been banned from football for four and a half years for allegedly helping Lazio obtain favours from referees. His ban was replaced by an €80,000 (£55,000) fine. His ex-colleague, the former federation vice-president Innocenzo Mazzini, had a five-year ban upheld.
The appeal judges may have been swayed by clubs' threats to challenge any excessive punishments in the civil courts or at the European Court of Justice.
Uefa's deadline for the federation to supply names of Italian teams which will compete in next season's European competitions was yesterday, but is now extended to lunchtime today.
The great escape: Italian clubs win on penalties
Juventus Relegated to Serie B, docked 30 pts
Fiorentina Relegated to Serie B, docked 12 pts
Lazio Relegated to Serie B, docked 7 pts
Milan Retained Serie A status, docked 15 pts and out of Champions' League
Juventus Remain in Serie B with 17 pts deducted
Fiorentina Back in Serie A with 19 pts deducted
Lazio Restored to Serie A with 11 pts deducted
Milan Serie A deduction cut to just 8 pts, restored to Champions' LeagueReuse content