Waiting until after Italy clinched first place in Group E at the 2006 World Cup -- and until the close of the Milan stock market -- the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) prosecutors charged charged Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio, as well as 26 individuals -- including officials of the clubs and the federation itself, eight referees and two linesmen -- in Italy's match-fixing scandal.
The FIGC indictments that came after the Azzurri beat the Czech Republic, 2-0, in Hamburg produced a combination that, as one television commentator put it, was "heaven in Germany and hell in Rome."
Two-time defending champion Juventus could face relegation to Italy's Serie C1 (third level) for its role in the scandal. Former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggiis accused of influencing refereeing appointments to benefit Juventus. On intercepted telephone conversations, Moggi is heard to be discussing with senior Italian soccer federation officials refereeing appointments for games in the 2004-05 season.
Also indicted were former Juventus CEO Antonio Giraudo and Milan's powerful vice president, Adriano Galliani, who also served as president of Italy's pro league. Galliani, who quit as Italy's pro league president after the charges were announced yesterday, faces a single charge of violating fairness and probity,
Former FIGC presidentFranco Carraro was charged on suspicion of knowing about the manipulation of refereeing appointments but doing nothing to stop it.
The eight referees who were charged includedMassimo de Santis, who was to work at the World Cup until his appointment was withdrawn after the scandal broke.
The verdicts will be delivered July 7-9 -- the latter being the day of the World Cup final. Prosecutors are also investigating charges that clubs and agents falsely accounted for transfers.