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Leading Italian Soccer Clubs and Officials Go Before Tribunal


Italy's four leading soccer clubs have gone on trial in Rome on match-fixing charges.

A sports tribunal set up by the Italian Football Federation opened Thursday in Rome's Olympic stadium to try the clubs, A.C. Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Juventus. More than 20 soccer officials, including referees, have also been implicated in the scandal.

The officials and clubs are accused of manipulating matches, mostly in favor of Juventus, during the 2004 to 2005 season. All of the accused have denied wrongdoing.

The panel of judges may decide to strip the clubs of their titles and demote them to a lower division. A ruling is expected by July 9, the date of the World Cup final.

Among those attending the tribunal Thursday were A.C. Milan's vice president, Adriano Galliani, and the former president of the national football federation, Franco Carraro. Officials with soccer clubs Lazio and Fiorentina were also present, but the former general manager of Juventus, Luciano Moggi, did not show up.

Italian prosecutors have launched separate investigations into the scandal that could lead to criminal charges for those involved.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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