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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Italian Football Match-fixing Scandal: The Great Serie A Fire Sale

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In what has to be European football's - or even world football for that matter - biggest ever scandal, the Italian Match-Fixing case has come to a close.

The casualties? Four teams were implicated: AC Milan, Fiorentina, Juventus and Lazio.

The verdict? Three of the four, Fiorentina, Juventus and Lazio, are to be relegated to the second division, or Serie B, next season, while AC Milan gets to remain in Serie A, but will start the season 15 points in the red. All four teams will also be dropped from European competition - Lazio in the UEFA Cup, and the other three in the UEFA Champions League.

Details can be found in two BBC Sports reports, here and here.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe other implication of this is of course the transfer market for key players from the clubs, all of whom featured prominently in the recent FIFA World Cup Finals 2006 in Germany.

A full list of who's available - dubbed The Great Serie A Sale - can be found in this BBC Sports report. Among the possible players that may opt to enter the transfer market are some very familiar names (not a complete list):

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) and Dida (AC Milan)

Defenders: Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan), Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus) and Cafu (AC Milan)

Midfielders: Gennaro Gattuso & Kaka (AC Milan), and Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)

Strikers: Luca Toni (Fiorentina), Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Trezeguet (both Juventus).

The Great Serie A Fire Sale? While all teams are expected to appeal the decision of the sports tribunal that handed down the fines, time is running out for them, especially for European competition. UEFA is expected to be officially notified soon. Stay tuned for further developments.