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Trial of Italian Football Clubs for Alleged Match-Fixing Resumes


The trial of four leading Italian football clubs on match-fixing charges resumed in Rome on Monday. The trial is taking place as Italy's national team prepares for its World Cup semi-final against Germany on Tuesday.

Champions Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina are the four Italian clubs facing match-fixing charges and possible demotion to a lesser league, if found guilty.

The sports tribunal, set up by the Italian football federation in Rome's Olympic stadium is also trying 26 soccer officials - including referees and linemen - on charges of match-fixing and unfair conduct.

Football-crazed Italians have been gripped by the scandal and trial, which opened last Thursday and was quickly adjourned to Monday. The trial is taking place as Italy's national team prepares for its World Cup semi-final against Germany on Tuesday.

Eight referees face charges, including Massimo de Santis, who had been set to officiate at the World Cup, but was pulled out after being drawn into the investigation.

At the trial, procedural matters were dealt with initially, and lawyers requested that wiretaps not be allowed as evidence. The football scandal broke after the purported transcripts of intercepted telephone conversations was published. The transcripts showed former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi discussing refereeing appointments with senior Italian Football Federation officials during the last season.

Lawyers representing six second league teams asked to be granted permission to give evidence.

The lawyer representing Arezzo, one of the six, said these teams want to be granted the right to be present at the trial. They also plan to ask for their teams' promotion to the top league, if the top league clubs are demoted.

Juventus, which won the championship title for the last two seasons, is believed to face the greatest risk. Its general manager, Luciano Moggi, resigned after the scandal broke in May.

The tribunal has been scheduled to run during the remainder of the World Cup championship in Germany. Italy's Football Federation, which appointed the tribunal, said it expects verdicts to be delivered by July 9, the day of the world cup final. Appeals are then expected by July 20.

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